Top Stories of 2018: Classroom slapboxing rattles Montville School District
In April, a week after police accused former Montville High School substitute teacher Ryan Fish of supervising what one school administrator called a "fight club," three school officials were charged with failing to report the classroom fighting to authorities. The court cases stretched out for months and shook up staffing at the school district, eventually leading to Superintendent Brian Levesque's resignation and Principal Jeffrey Theodoss's early retirement.
The investigations into the fall 2017 fights, and how they were handled by administrators, highlighted the state's mandated reporter law, which requires teachers and administrators to promptly contact the Department of Children and Families or police if they see signs of neglect or abuse. The cases also called into question whether the school district properly hired and trained Fish.
While Assistant Principal Tatiana Patten's case remains ongoing, the charges against Levesque and Theodoss were dismissed and a judge approved Fish's application for a rehabilitation program that includes community service and counseling. The district has since updated its staff on substitute teacher training and mandated reporting requirements.
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