Shelton High Principal Beth Smith is not the only high school staff member being investigated, according to the city’s top official.
Mayor Mark Lauretti told the Shelton Herald Monday that the state’s attorney office and the Shelton Police Department are presently conducting a “criminal investigation involving multiple staff members” at Shelton High School, not just Smith. Smith was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday, March 28, on what school Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet termed a “personnel matter.”
Clouet did confirm to the Herald Saturday that “law enforcement and other agencies are currently investigating a situation that took place involving (Smith)” but would not comment on what has prompted this investigation or what other agencies are involved, saying only the incident in question occurred earlier in the week.
Lauretti said this investigation stems from an incident involving two students at the high school earlier last week. Lauretti could not comment on the incident involving the students, saying that investigation remains ongoing. But Lauretti did say that police are attempting to determine if Smith and fellow staff members properly followed protocols and procedures during the incident with the two students.
“I have not been made aware of that,” said Clouet when asked about Lauretti’s comments.
Clouet told the Herald that he informed Smith of the decision in his conference room at the Board of Education administrative office building Thursday, March 28. Smith was neither arrested nor escorted from the high school by law enforcement, according to Clouet.
“It is true that (Smith) is on paid administrative leave until further notice, but the circumstances of that decision are a personnel matter, and I cannot comment further,” said Clouet.
Clouet did say he was “concerned and extremely disappointed in the false reporting” on this matter by various media outlets. According to a report on the WTNH website, Shelton police confirmed that officers were at Shelton High School on Friday as part of an ongoing investigation involving a school employee. No arrest was expected for Friday or over the weekend, according to the report. Herald attempts to contact police representatives to confirm this report have been unsuccessful to this point.
In a statement released on the school's website at 8 p.m. Friday, Clouet stated "Please beware of rumors. (Smith) was not escorted from the building by police. There has been no arrest. Our primary concern is the well being of our students. In addition, Dr. Smith deserves respect and privacy as this process unfolds."
“I made this decision to place her on paid administrative leave for her benefit and the benefit of the school district until this is resolved,” said Clouet.
Board of Education Chairman Mark Holden said Friday that Clouet informed board members midday Thursday about the move.
Assistant Principal John Skerritt is acting principal while an investigation begins into Smith, who has been principal at the high school for some 10 years.
Holden said the board has not received any details on the issues surrounding Clouet's decision on Smith.
“There will be a thorough investigation,” said Holden, “and if the Board of Education needs to action, we will do so.”
Holden also disputed reports of Smith, a longtime member of the Shelton school system, being arrested, saying that he has heard nothing of an arrest or anyone being escorted from the high school by law enforcement.
“(Clouet) met with her yesterday (Thursday, March 28), and he was the one who made the decision that she should be placed on administrative leave, with pay,” said Holden.
In the meantime, Holden said he has “tremendous confidence in (Skerritt’s) ability to cover what needs to be covered” during this process.
The Herald will update this article when new information becomes available.