Arrests and charges have been made after Montville High School administrators failed to report an abusive ‘fight club’ held by a substitute teacher.
45-year-old district superintendent Brian Levesque; 64-year-old high school principal Jeffrey Theodoss; and 59-year-old assistant principal Tatiana Patten have all been charged with failing to report the abuse. They have all been suspended.
They have each been released on condition of appearing at the Superior Court in Norwich on May 3. Court documents claim a text message exchange between administrators reveal an attempt to cover the incident up.
The substitute teacher in question, 23-year-old Ryan Fish, was last week charged with four counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and two counts of risk of injury to a minor as well as one count of breach of peace.
You can watch the alarming scenes unfold for yourself below:
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Fish was fired from his teaching position in October 2017, however it would be another two months until police officers were alerted to the incident.
Several organised fights allegedly occurred inside a maths classroom at Montville High School inside school hours during October 2017. Police reports suggest fights were unevenly matched, with one participant generally being smaller than the other.
Fish acted as a referee during these fights, and could be seen directing the pupils and ‘egging them on’ in the footage, while often ‘smiling and laughing.’
When confronted about his before, he simply told Principal Theodoss ‘boys will be boys’ before explaining how he ‘grew up in the country and boys do stuff like that.’
what i do wanna know is, who’s the ass clown on the montville school board hiring all these people. principles that steal shit, history teachers that come to school drunk, music teachers that hook up w/ students, & now a sub hosting a “fight club”. who’s makin these decisions? ?
— glidden (@austinnnglidden) April 12, 2018
According to The Washington Post, Fish told police officers:
I just try to be the teacher that the kids could come to and actually express themselves and actually work through their issues, Kind of have a social thing.
The truth is I’m an idiot and I wanted to befriend them, I’m immature.
Waiting for #Montville Assistant Superintendent Laurie Pallin and Board of Ed. Chair Bob Mitchell to address media about three administrators being charged for not reporting alleged "fight club" incident at the High School #nbcct pic.twitter.com/UZjFAzIWv8
— Heather Burian (@HeatherBurian) April 19, 2018
According to police reports, Fish also reportedly allowed pupils to scribble pictures depicting sexual acts on the whiteboard. He told stories to his pupils about his recreational drug use and even went as far as to share his personal Snapchat address.
School Assistant Superintendent Laurie Pallin has sent out the following letter to parents and guardians at the school:
Today is a sad day for our district.
Three well-known and highly respected members of the Montville Public Schools administrative team turned themselves in to state police Troop E this morning.
These people are not only my colleagues, but they are my friends.
[This incident] is an exception to how Montville Public Schools operate — it does not illustrate the priority we place on student safety.
It is our fundamental belief that every student in every one of our schools shall have a rich learning environment that is safe and nurturing.
If you’re like me and you’re a 20 something stressing about life b/c you still don’t have it all figured out, it’s okay.
At least we’re not this kid my girlfriend went to high school with who started a fight club for his students…
And couldn’t even teach them the first rule. pic.twitter.com/gHzGytexMb
— Rafeed Hussain (@RafeedHussain) April 16, 2018
According to Heavy.com, Fish is scheduled to return to court on May 8. He may face a prison stretch of several years if convicted of all charges.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.