4 more school employees placed on leave in New London

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Five school employees are now on administrative leave following the arrest of an employee at the Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London for allegedly having inappropriate relationships with two middle school students. 

New charges against 35-year-old Corriche Gaskin came out last week along with paperwork reporting the alleged inappropriate relationship he’s accused of having with an eighth grade student and a 13-year-old at the New London middle school where he worked as a climate specialist.    

“My biggest concern when this came out in March was that individuals knew about it,” said New London school board member Jason Catala in a phone interview with News 8.

Gaskin, who is on paid administrative leave, is accused of taping sexual encounters he had with one of the students and two other staff members at the school.

“Being the fact that you’re any type of educational provider and you work with students, having any type of sexual relationship with one is beyond disgusting and just downright disturbing,” said Gervaise Rosario whose younger brother goes to Bennie Dover.

“Horrible.. horrible,” Emilia Ortiz-Billate said with a gasp.

She was picking up her granddaughter Ninoska Torres from school on Monday.

“She said that she felt horrible that this school accepted such a bad guy in this school,” explained Torres, who is in the seventh grade.

“I don’t see her anymore here,” said Torres.

Lawrence Washington, the Director and Principal of SMMS at the school, was also placed on leave.

Catala said Washington was listed on Gaskin’s initial employment application as the person who referred him to the job.

“There is a connection of their working relationships,” said Catala. “Now, I don’t know what other relationships they had outside of the building. But there is a definite connection between those two.”

New London police posted a message on their Facebook page because they understand people have a lot of concerns and frustrations with this case and they promised to do a complete and thorough investigation.

Related Content: New London school employee pleads not guilty to sexual assault

The Superintendent of Schools in New London also released a statement to the community. 

It reads:

Dear Members of the New London School Community,

I cannot begin to express the deep gratitude and appreciation I have for your presence over the past week at our districts ponsored conversations. My staff and I learned a great deal about the various ways in which we can be responsive to the voice and needs of our students, their families and our staff throughout our school community. At each meeting, we were able to listen to concerns, provide information regarding the ongoing investigations, supply attendees with supports available within the community, learn from each other, and develop some next steps to move our community forward. I wish to highlight the passionate voice and energy of several parents who have since offered their additional support to lead community action projects and serve as parent-leaders engaging more and more to rise together for the benefit of our students; this coming together to seek solutions jointly is what we need to begin to heal.

I also commend our teams of social workers, psychologists, , teachers, administrators, support staff and community partners who have come together to help develop and roll out a district-wide response plan to be sure there are avenues for all to be able to express concerns, ask questions and find the support they need. All schools will continue to implement a variety of support tools, within each building, as each member of our school community is affected in a different way.

To begin the journey of healing through modeling positive partnerships, we will continue to host community forums at various locations throughout the district. Coffee/dinner hours have been happening and will continue year-round. I consider these a part of NLPS’ new culture. Some forums will also begin to be held off-site in various community locations, so that district and school staff can be made available to more aspects of our community The goals of these forums are to listen, learn and be responsive to your needs as we navigate more and more bridges to home-school community partnerships. Additional forum dates will be posted soon.

Additionally, we plan to host a series of engaging family-friendly, community events over the next several months geared toward bringing us together. All the events will be free and open to the community. As these events take shape, we will provide additional information. We do hope you will join us.

For our middle school community, please note starting Monday, May 13th, Ms. Maureen Bransfield will serve as the Interim Director of Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School Campus. She will oversee the entire campus. Director Bransfield will continue to be supported by Assistant Principal, Roland Dunham. Mr. Carlos Leal, Principal of Nathan Hale Elementary School, will be present at Bennie Dover this week supporting students and staff at starting tomorrow.

In closing, I want to stress our commitment to providing safe spaces where children and families can work hand in hand to collectively develop solutions that highlight the greatness of the New London community. There are many, many amazing people who care deeply about you, your child/ren and the success of the district.

Sincerely,
Cynthia Ritchie
Superintendent of Schools
New London Public Schools

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