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Mayor ‘disappointed’ in district’s decision for high school to go remote over violence



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    NEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) — New Britain High School went remote for the rest of the week and the reason wasn’t COVID.

According to Mayor Erin Stewart’s office, it was violence.

Stewart said on Wednesday that she had been informed of the decision by the district.

She issued a statement on social media:

Everyone knows by now the decision was made to close New Britain high school for the remainder of the week. My office was informed by the school district that this decision was made because of recent issues in controlling student behavior, specifically vandalism and fighting.

I’m disappointed in this decision, it’s not fair to the majority of students who behave respectfully and want to be in school to learn.

Everyone has a “solution”, but what it comes down to is the fact that there are no consequences for bad behavior, and this is the end result. The board of education must make finding a solution to this problem their highest priority. I offer my help as well as the help of the New Britain Police Department.

If the school district cannot get these behavior problems under control, then they need to find new and more effective leadership who can.

Our students deserve to learn in a safe environment, our parents deserve the comfort knowing that their child is safe in school, and our teachers deserve a safe space to educate.

Those who do not follow the rules should be given REAL consequences, including being removed from the school, plain and simple.

The school district said it needed a “reset”.

District officials said a combination of several incidents at the school led them to make the decision.

A letter went out to parents on Tuesday that explained the reset was because some students haven’t been able to adjust to the school’s expectations.

“It just feels like we’re kind of backtracking now,” said New Britain High student Kimberly Beslanga.

“You’ve got stuff like people vandalizing the school and stuff like that. It’s just nonsense,” said New Britain High student Marcus Caccio.

New Britain High School will go remote for the next three days and we’re learning this shift isn’t because of COVID, rather, the city’s mayor says it’s because of a increase in violence.

Some students echoed the sentiment that the reset felt like a setback.

“It’s my last year so it’s just sucks to see like all the immaturity of the kids and for that to be the reason that we’re going back remote,” Caccio said.

In a letter to students and families, Principal Damon Pearce explained the past 14 days have been an adjustment for some in that they had to get used to being around more than 2,000 students again so:

..building administrators and support staff can identify those students who are struggling to adjust to NBHS expectations and develop programming for them in preparation for a full return.

The move came just five days after the superintendent sent out a letter about New Britain High School students taking part in a TikTok trend.

The trend encouraged students to record themselves stealing and damaging school property.

Caccio said he has seen videos of students trying the challenge.

“There was a video going around that there was a monitor from the lunchroom stolen and then there was a sink that was also stolen [that] I’ve heard of,” Caccio explained.

The school district said students will return to the classroom by grade starting next week. Seniors won’t return until Thursday and Friday.

Kimberly Beslanga said it’ll be a tough week for her and other students to go back to remote learning.

“It feels weird, especially because being a low-income student and not having that same education at home and same environment and space to really focus, and, you know, one-to-one conversation with your teachers. It’s a little hard,” Beslanga said.

Also in the letter that went out to families, the principal asked parents to talk to their children about acceptable and appropriate behavior in school.

Channel 3 reached out to the school district and asked if New Britain police responded to any of the incidents. It said it could not comment on that, but did add it has a school resource officer that responds to incidents in the school.

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