AD Fails to Report

March 8, 2017

In the Hartford (Conn.) School District, Bulkeley High School Athletic Director Diane Callis was suspended for 10 days for not reporting alleged abuse by former Head Football Coach Pablo Ortiz, Jr. On Jan. 27, Ortiz was fired for rough treatment of a student, following a report that he slammed a student to the ground. Earlier this week, seven employees of the school were disciplined for negligence in response to Ortiz's misconduct.

According to the Hartford Courant, Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, acting superintendent, ordered a probe after learning that some administrators may have known about the allegations but did not report them. The punishments to the administrators in question range from one-day suspensions without pay to dismissals. Callis received the longest suspension because in addition to her inaction regarding Ortiz, she had allowed coaches to work with students before the school finished vetting them.

"Indeed, it was later revealed through this review process that one such individual, whom you knowingly allowed to take the field ... was not truthful about his criminal background on his employment application," the reprimand to Callis read.

Sarah Eagan, child advocate, said her investigation revealed that Hartford schools have a tendency to investigate allegations of abuse on their own rather than involving the Department of Children and Families, which she said leads to abusers going unpunished and remaining at their jobs for years,

Torres-Rodriguez said teachers are legally obligated to report in cases where there is reasonable suspicion of abuse or students are at risk of harm.

"Mandated reporters should not investigate and should not wait until they are sure," she wrote in a letter. "They are required to report immediately if they have any reasonable suspicion. Through the Report of the Child Advocate, we realize that we must change the culture so that mandated reporters meet their legal duty to report concerns to DCF."

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