Norwalk school administrator used foul language with student

NORWALK – A lawyer representing a 13-year-old boy and his parents has said the family plan to take legal action after the teenager was suspended from the Norwalk Alternative Opportunity program and allegedly made to wait outside for hours before a policeman drove him away. residence.

Attorney Piper A. Paul filed a notice with the Norwalk City Clerk regarding the family’s intention to sue, alleging that an alternative program administrator ‘used foul and derogatory language’ before suspending the student and not let him into the building last month.

Paul said the boy, Daniel Portillo, 13, was suspended in March for allegedly breaking a rule about how many students are allowed in the bathroom at one time at the George Carver Community Center on Academy Street where the one-day program.

The Norwalk Alternative Opportunity program is for students who have been suspended or expelled from school. A report to the Board of Education in June 2020 stated that at the time, 34 students were enrolled in the program, half of whom were identified as special education students.

A Norwalk Public Schools spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment or questions about the status of the school administrator who was allegedly involved in the incident.

“Any allegation will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. However, it is our policy not to comment on any pending lawsuits,” Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling said in a statement.

In an interview with Hearst Connecticut Media Group, the boy’s mother, Elda Mas, said her son was using the restroom when another student came in one day last month.

When the school administrator found the two students in the restroom, hung them up and told them to leave the property, Paul wrote to the city in his letter, which was obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

On his phone, Portillo recorded the audio of the exchange with the person his family says is the school employee. The camera was pointed at the ground and the person speaking is not seen in the video.

“Take your bullshit home,” the man’s voice can be heard saying in the video. “Oh my God, you two are going home. I am done with you.”

Portillo gathered his things and left the building as instructed, Paul wrote in the letter.

“So many things happened so fast. I didn’t know how I felt,” Portillo said in an interview with Hearst Connecticut Media. “Inside, I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed and frustrated.

In his letter, Paul said the school administrator did not notify the boy’s parents of the suspension.

After Portillo called his mother to tell her what had happened, Mas contacted the school administrator to inform her that she and her husband had been unable to pick up their son for “several hours. “, wrote Paul in the letter.

However, the school administrator “would not allow the student to wait inside the security of the school building,” Paul wrote in the letter.

A security guard prevented Portillo from re-entering the building, informed him that he could not stay on school property and ordered him to wait for his mother across the street, writes Paul in the letter.

After Portillo was out for “several hours and had no coat”, Paul contacted the police, who took the boy home, the letter said.

The Norwalk Police Department said it could not release a report on this response because it was a minor.

“We feel sad,” Mas said. “We are frustrated because we are trying to work with (the school district). I never imagined that I would be in this position. … It’s sad because I expect the district to have the responsibility to give my son the right to a special education.

Mas said his son did not return to the program.

“He suffers from tremendous anxiety and the treatment he received at NAOP, together with the incident, has caused irreparable harm to the student and the family, for which they will seek damages,” said writes Paul in the letter.

Portillo was sent to the Norwalk Alternative Opportunity Program in late December following a disciplinary issue at Roton Middle School, Mas said.

Mas said the police were involved and his son was due to appear before the Norwalk Juvenile Review Board.

Norwalk Police said they could not provide information about the incident as it involved a minor.

Mas said the review board offered two options for his son. Portillo could either stay home and receive private lessons or participate in the Norwalk Alternative Opportunity program.

According to the city’s website, the purpose of the Juvenile Review Board is to provide meaningful alternatives to the criminal justice system through community intervention strategies. A young person under the age of 18 without previous arrest who has committed an offense is referred to the JRB case manager.

“My voice is also for other parents,” Mas said of a lawsuit. “Maybe they feel intimidated. Maybe they don’t know who can help. It’s not just for my son.

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Martha K. Merrill