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Norwalk dad concerned over school security, why he was charged

Cary Ashby • Apr 19, 2018 at 2:00 AM

Norwalk resident Chad Wright said he is most concerned with the overall issue of school security — even after he was charged with possibly frightening a janitor before being let into Pleasant Elementary after hours.

Wright, 38, of 43 Gallup Ave., has been charged with disorderly conduct in connection with a March 29 incident at Pleasant. He said he hit the main door with the back of his fist when school was out — “to make a bunch of noise” and get someone’s attention — and he used some vulgarity when discussing some displeasure about how a teacher on bus duty handled the situation in which his 8-year-old son was hit in the face by an umbrella.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong,” said Wright, who waited in the school office with janitor Cindy Collins for Principal Janice Smith to return to Pleasant.   

“My words were out of line,” said the father, who added he wasn’t attempting to scare anybody and denies acting aggressively when he pounded on the door. 

The Norwalk police report by Officer Amanda Blodgett tells a different story. According to the report, Collins said Wright “was kicking and pounding on (the doors) so hard it frightened her.” The janitor also told police that Wright reportedly “was yelling to ‘open the (expletive) doors’” and he told her “he needed to find out who the (vulgarity) was who hit his son” — a name he is accused of calling the student several times.

“Chad then told Cindy he was going to call the police because he felt the school was not going to take care of the issue properly. Cindy told me she felt kind of relieved when he said this because she ‘was about ready to call herself,’” according to the officer’s report.

“Dispatcher Shaw also advised me Chad was rude with him several times over the phone. Chad used the ‘f-word’ multiple times and demanded to get an officer at the school,” Blodgett wrote in her report.

Wright was stunned when he was issued a summons for disorderly conduct a few days later.

“I didn’t know those charges were coming against me,” said the father, who expected the paperwork to be about possible charges against the girl who hit her son with an umbrella.

Wright said it doesn’t make sense that the janitor let him use her cell phone to call the police if she were frightened of him. He noted the two talked casually in the office while they waited for Smith and the officer to arrive; they came to the school about the same time.

Once Collins called Smith back to the school and Smith told him the incident with his son “would be taken care of,” Wright said “when I left, it seemed like everybody was on the same page.” The father also said he wonders if the janitor was talked into filing a complaint against him.

Norwalk City Schools Superintendent George Fisk said he was aware of the incident involving Wright.

When asked about Wright’s allegation of Collins possibly being pressured or prompted to file a police report, Fisk said it’s “not the position of the district” to encourage employees to do so.

“That’s the employee’s position to do that — not the administration. … I have not been directly involved,” the superintendent added. “The children were gone from the building. I am not aware of the details of the charge.”

Wright had gone to Pleasant with his 16-year-old son to find out why he wasn’t informed about his younger son being hit in the face with an umbrella by another student while waiting for the bus. He didn’t find out about the situation until his son got off the bus and he and his wife saw marks on his cheek.

“I was getting my semi ready to go,” added Wright, who drives truck and ended up losing a $300 payday. “Money is the least of my concern.”

According to the police report, his son said he believed the girl accidentally pushed a button on the umbrella to make it expand and the girl, in a separate interview, told Blodgett she was playing with the umbrella and it “accidentally hit him.” Also the girl said she called the boy’s name “and when he looked, she hit the button to ‘make it go out,’” but she meant for the umbrella to “go out near his shoulder.”

“To me, it was deliberate — not an accident,” Wright told the Reflector. 

When Smith found out about the umbrella incident that evening, “she was upset that it happened and she wasn’t advised,” Wright said.

Fisk said at the end of the school day, adults are in the bus room to monitor the students until parents pick up their children and if one of them is injured, it’s assessed.

Ultimately, Wright said his biggest concern about the entire situation is that a school employee would let a stranger — one who was obviously upset — into the building without knowing why that person was there.

“I can’t believe they’ll just let anybody in there,” the father said. “She (Collins) doesn’t know me from a hole in the ground. … Schools are not taking action (like they should).”

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