Board: Probe Into School Sex Case Was Flawed | NECN
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Board: Probe Into School Sex Case Was Flawed

(Published Tuesday, May 5, 2015)

The Stamford Board of Education said the school district has mishandled the investigation into a student-teacher relationship and the high school administrators who failed to report it.

Investigators say it all began with former Stamford High School English teacher Danielle Watkins, who is now serving a five-year prison sentence for having sex with one of her teenage students and supplying him and another student with marijuana.

The school principal and vice principal were placed on leave for allegedly having knowledge of the relationship but failing to report it to authorities.

Parents and community members attending Tuesday night's board meeting hoped to find out if and when those administrators would lose their jobs, but the process has been stalled.

A review of how the district handled the case cites failures at every level, from administration to the central office to the district's own attorneys – Shipman & Goodwin – a firm specifically named in the 136 report released last week.

Now those attorneys are stepping away from the case citing potential ethical issues. That move slows the entire process down and causes frustration among members of the board and in the community.

"Decisions have to be made so we have to be confident that this will not go on forever," said Stamford Board of Education Vice President Lorraine Olson. "We are now $200,000 into legal fees and we are no more ahead than we were then."

The board is now tasked with finding new legal representation before any administrator linked to the Watkins case can be terminated.

"Our budget can’t handle it. Our taxpayers can’t handle it," said Olson. "Above all our students – we forgot about them – our students can’t handle it."

The board plans to meet next Tuesday evening at 7:30 in hopes of finding new legal representation before the employment of these two administrators in question can be dealt with.

The board president said it could be months of meetings and hearings before the situation is fully resolved.

"The citizens don’t deserve this, said a Stamford resident who asked only to be identified as Chris. "The students don’t deserve this and it’s really just another roadblock."

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