KILLINGLY, Conn. (WTNH) — The state’s commissioner of education has ordered an investigation after a complaint against the Board of Education in Killingly was found to be a “substantial complaint.”
Filed by dozens of parents, it was received by the state Department of Education (CSDE) last week. According to Connecticut Commissioner of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker, the basis of the complaint is that the Killingly Board of Education has allegedly “failed to fulfill the educational interests of the State of Connecticut by failing to provide the minimum services and supports necessary to deal with the social, emotional and mental health needs” of the students at the town’s high school.
This comes after the board voted down a proposal in March to open a school-based health center at Killingly High School, which would have offered behavioral and mental health services. The center, which would be run by Generations Family Health Center, would have been at no cost to the school district.
Based upon the CSDE’s review, the complaint was deemed a “substantial complaint” as defined in the regulations.
“Essentially what it means is that it’s not a complaint that can be dismissed on its face,” said Mike McKeon, the legal director for the state Department of Education. “In other words, there could be something there.”
It must be understood that this does not constitute a determination or conclusion that the allegations in the complaint are accurate or that the Killingly Board has failed to implement the educational interests of the state. This is simply a threshold determination as to whether the complaint should be dismissed on its face or whether it warrants further investigation. It should also be understood that the focus of the investigation is on whether the Killingly Board is providing ‘a safe school setting.’Charlene Russell-Tucker, Connecticut commissioner of education
“Our voices have been heard and that feels so good,” said Cillian Young, who was glad to hear about the state’s decision to investigate.
Young, a former Killingly High School student who once tried to commit suicide, says having help changed and saved his life.
“We are very pleased that they took this seriously because this is a very serious matter,” said Christine Rosati Randall, a parent.
Some have suggested hiring a school psychologist.
“We have a school psychologist opening already,” Rosati Randall said. “They’d only be creating another vacancy.”
The board has 10 days to respond to the allegations.
The board is expected to discuss discuss alternatives to the school-based health center at its regular meeting Wednesday night, but now it may also be discussing this decision by the state.
Parents hope the board will reconsider the health center and any concerns can be discussed.
“If we need to put something in writing to make you feel more comfortable with it, let’s do that,” Rosati Randall said.