School district concludes probe of Smith, Skerritt
After four months, all investigations involving Beth Smith and John Skerritt, formerly principal and assistant principal, respectively, at Shelton High, are concluded.
School Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet said that the district’s internal investigation into the pair and a reported sex assault at the high school in March is “over” with no action taken against them. Both have already been reassigned within the district.
“The internal investigation is concluded,” said Clouet, “and now we are looking forward to a positive school year beginning this September.”
School officials two weeks ago announced that Kathy Riddle, lifetime Shelton resident and 27-year veteran of the district, would assume the principal job on an interim basis for the coming school year, as of July 22. The search for two new assistant principals is also underway. That move officially ended Smith’s tenure as Shelton High’s principal.
Smith has since been reassigned to the district’s central office, where she will serve as special education supervisor. Smith has a background in special education, in the past serving as the department chair for special education. Skerritt has been assigned as assistant principal at Shelton Intermediate School for the new school year.
Smith and Skerritt were placed on administrative leave last March. Shelton police began investigating the pair after officers were called to the high school in response to an alleged sexual assault involving two students.
Shelton Police Chief Shawn Sequeira said at the time that the department attempted to determine whether school personnel adhered to Connecticut General Statutes when dealing with potentially criminal situations.
That six-week investigation was closed earlier in May, with no criminal charges filed. The recently released police report on the investigation stated that Shelton police had sought a warrant for the arrest of both administrators for risk of injury to a minor and interfering with police, but State’s Attorney Margaret E. Kelley declined to prosecute.
For Smith, this brings an end to what at times was a tumultuous tenure at Shelton High School.
In 2011, student James Tate attracted worldwide attention — which helped overturn a decision by Smith to bar him from attending the prom after taping foot-high letters on the outside of the high school, asking a girlfriend to go with him.
In 2015, six teenage Shelton girls had to alter or replace their prom gowns after school officials deemed the outfits too revealing.
In 2016, the parents of a Shelton High student killed in a car crash prevailed on the Board of Education to issue a posthumous diploma for their son.