Jeanne Milstein who is New London‘s Director of Human Services is also the former state Child Advocate.
“What I”m most interested in right now, as is the Mayor, what is the culture of safety in the New London school district?” said Milstein.
She described the meeting she and Mayor Michael Passero had with the current Child Advocate Sarah Eagan as comprehensive and thorough.
Milstien says the Child Advocate has unique access no other entity has.
“The Child Advocate has full access to children’s records, full access to facilities, and can provide a 360 degree independent analysis.” said Milstein.
They would like Eagan to conduct an independent outside review of the school district’s policies and practices. This after two staff members were charged with second degree sexual assault and a third was charged with failure to report as a mandated reporter.
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“The schools are a child servicing agency,” said Milstein.
She wants to know what protocols are in place for mandated reporter training as well as for prevention of child abuse or sexual harassment.
“What kind of protocol do they have when a teacher can be or any staff can be alone with a child?” questioned Milstein.
New London’s superintendent of schools Cynthia Ritchie who was not part of the conversation in Hartford but says she is open to professional suggestions has already hired an independent consultant to look at all aspects of hiring going back at least 5 years.
Policies are also being updated while New London police and the Department of Children & Families continue their investigations.
In a statement Cynthia Ritchie wrote “I am not sure what this group would do that we are not already doing, but am open to listening as the entire community shares in the same goals for students.”
“She’s really trying to understand what’s going on here and making the kinds of necessary changes,” said Milstein.
As the former Child Advocate, Milstein says from that perspective she believes this is worth looking into a bit further. Whether or not an actual review will happen is yet to be seen.
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