Saturday, October 11, 2008

CT: Arrested New Britain Teacher Remains On Payroll

October 11, 2008,0,777352.story
Related Story: Special Education Teacher Faces Cruelty Charges

NEW BRITAIN - — A special education teacher arrested Thursday on seven felony charges remains on the New Britain school district's payroll and continues to teach, a school official said Friday.

Michelle Campbell, 36, of Rocky Hill, turned herself in Thursday after learning a warrant had been issued for her arrest. She posted $5,000 bail and was released. She is to be arraigned Oct. 23 on three counts of risk of injury to a minor and four counts of cruelty to persons.

The incident for which Campbell was arrested occurred last May at Chamberlain School, where Campbell taught a special education class with about 10 children who have autism, according to officials familiar with the investigation. The students were in kindergarten through second grade, police said. The children she is accused of abusing are boys age 5 to 7, police said.

Following an investigation by school officials and the state Department of Children and Families, Campbell returned to the classroom, said Jon Walek, New Britain's director of pupil personnel services. Walek would not reveal what the investigation found, although he said the district took action and developed a "plan for return" to the classroom for Campbell.

The alleged abuse was reported by Campbell's co-workers, Walek said, and in accordance with state law officials immediately contacted DCF.

An official familiar with the investigation said the abuse was characterized as inappropriate disciplining of the children. Campbell allegedly slapped a child and splashed water in another's face.

The warrant for Campbell's arrest was sealed. Citing that sealing order, police would not release further details.

New Britain Superintendent of Schools Doris J. Kurtz was out of town attending a conference and her staff said she was not available to comment. A DCF spokesman said privacy laws prevented him from commenting on the matter. Campbell could not be reached for comment.

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