Southington police investigating ‘inappropriate texts’ sent by students at both middle schools

Southington police investigating ‘inappropriate texts’ sent by students at both middle schools


SOUTHINGTON — Police are investigating allegations of inappropriate text messages sent by students at both middle schools.

Frank Pepe, principal at Depaolo Middle School, didn’t comment on the incident.

“District practice is that we do not discuss student matters,” he said.

An administrator from Kennedy Middle School referred comment to School Superintendent Tim Connellan, who couldn’t be reached.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Sgt. Jeffrey Dobratz said the investigation was “based on recent postings.”

“The Southington Police Department can confirm that there is an active investigation involving students at both middle schools sending inappropriate text messages via social media,” Dobratz wrote. “This is an active and ongoing investigation involving juveniles and there will be no further comment or information released at this time.”

Members of the Southington Talks Facebook group discussed possible discipline some middle students received for sending inappropriate texts on Tuesday. It wasn’t clear whether the postings Dobratz referred to in his statement were those Facebook posts.

Bob Brown, a Board of Education member, said he didn’t know the number of students disciplined but said Connellan did inform board members that messages were sent by middle school students.

“My understanding is that it’s kids sending inappropriate pictures on their cellphones,” Brown said.

Brian Goralski, the board chairman, said he didn’t know of any expulsions that took place as a result of the messages. He said board members have to remain impartial and are told little by school administrators about discipline since the board must rule on expulsions.

“The board as a whole does not comment on ongoing investigations,” Goralski said.

Connellan did not return a call for comment Wednesday but in comments to other media outlets provided no details about the incident.

The district’s policy regarding cell phone use in school has changed from a total ban to looser restrictions. Brown was among those who argued that students should be able to use their phones in the halls and cafeteria although he agrees use in class would be disruptive.

Most communication among students is harmless, Brown said, but blocking inappropriate messages or images is difficult.

“There’s no way to block this,” he said. 203-317-2230 Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

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