BOE, Hearst file FOI complaints over high school probe

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — The Board of Education and Hearst Connecticut Media have each filed Freedom of Information complaints against the city after failed attempts to obtain the police report on the recent Shelton High School investigation.

The organizations filed separate FOI requests in May with the Shelton Police Department seeking the completed report on the actions of former high school Principal Beth Smith and her assistant John Skerritt in May, but to no avail.

School Superintendent Chris Clouet said in May that the board would be performing its own investigation into the matter once the police report was received. While Smith has since been reassigned to the central office, Clouet said no investigation has been initiated because the report was not yet received, prompting the filing of the FOI complaint.

Shelton Police Lt. Robert Kozlowsky, the department’s public information officer, declined to comment, referring questions to the city’s legal counsel. Attempts to reach city Administrative Assistant Jack Basher and city Counsel Fran Teodosio on Monday were not successful.

Shelton police began investigating Smith and Skerritt in late March after police were called to the high school in response to an incident involving two students. That six-week investigation was closed earlier in March, with the department determining no criminal charges would be filed.

Shelton Police Chief Shawn Sequeira said the department was attempting to determine if school personnel were following the proper protocols and procedures, in accordance with state law, when dealing with potentially criminal situations.

Clouet confirmed in May that Smith began her new role at central office, handling special education projects under the direction of the district’s special education department head.

“After it was clear that there was not going to be any kind of arrest, which we are happy about, (Smith) had her lawyers, and we had our lawyers, work with each other on when her return would take place,” Clouet said at the time. “And that was today.”

Once the internal investigation is complete, Clouet said, a final decision will be made on the placement of Smith and Skerritt, who has also been welcomed back in a reassignment, but remains out on medical leave. No final determination on placement has yet been made.