New London

Parents furious with Montville schools after another investigation

A board of education meeting in Montville turned tumultuous Tuesday night.  It was the first public hearing since the arrests of the superintendent, high school principal and assistant principal after video surfaced of a so-called fight club inside a math class. 

Related: State stepping in after Montville 'fight club' arrests

The district and its new leadership team is now facing even more trouble as the acting assistant principal was also placed on administrative leave for comments he allegedly made to the a student. 

Dozens of parents, teachers and students showed up at the board of education meeting, demanding answers. 

A mother was in tears emotionally recalling the harassment she says her son suffered at the hands of the high school's acting assistant principal, Phil Orbe. He's now on administrative leave. 

"He said I'm the end of the line and the board of education won't do anything to help you," Donna Swinburne said.  "Everyone worries about protecting their kids from the dangers of the outside world, but who's protecting them from the dangers inside school?" 

Related: Three Montville High School administrators charged in "fight club" investigation

The firestorm not ending there. Tuesday was the first public meeting since the three arrests. Some students say the administration failed to act and failed them in not reporting the video.  

"It's really a shame the administration didn't do anything," high school senior, Griffin Lamarche said.  "I definitely wish they would have spoken up - they're legally obligated."

Some parents are furious saying the school knew about the video and chose not to tell them. 

"They sweep everything under the rug," Beth Chateauneuf said.  "I almost wanted to come in with a broom with each persons name on it because that's what they do." 

"As a parent I would have liked to know this had gone on in October so had it affected my son, we could have talked about it," Lauri Lamarche said.  "You can't talk about something you don't know exists. 

Some saying bullying is a culture in Montville schools and it's time for leadership change. 

Related: Acting Montville High School assistant principal placed on paid leave, under investigation

"Look into how many kids have complained, how many are bullied," Chateauneuf added.  

A teacher spoke passionately saying what is currently in the news isn't Montville.  She said she would go to the ends of the earth to protect her students.  

"I have to be honest, I would lay down my life for your children," that teacher said.  

The meeting ended with the assistant superintendent being named as the acting superintendent.

"This has been really hard," acting superintendent, Laurie Pallin said.  "I'm eager to bring this district forward and change the message."


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