The Suffield Board of Education has voted to place Superintendent Karen Berasi on paid leave amid a police investigation into whether school administrators and members of senior leadership of the Suffield Public School District, including the superintendent, failed to report suspected child abuse or neglect to the state Department of Children and Families.
Suffield police began the investigation into the allegation of a conversation about child porn between an adult and a student at Suffield High School after it was reported by a student. The question they’re trying to answer is whether Berasi and other school officials, who are mandated reporters of child abuse by Connecticut law, properly handled the reporting of the allegation to DCF.
The superintendent said she expects to be cleared of any wrongdoing at the conclusion of the investigation.
“We expect to be fully exonerated when the details are heard. The public does not know the background of the case, nor all the steps that we as mandated reporters took immediately and within the first 48 hours,” Berasi wrote in a statement.
The incident happened in late May, but only recently came to public light. Since then, an online petition has circulated calling for the termination of the district’s contract with Berasi, saying they have no confidence in her leadership. The petition has gathered several hundred signatures.
Current Assistant Superintendent Michelle Zawawi was named interim superintendent. The investigation is ongoing.