3 Burlington school officials investigated following student restraint incident

Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 5:26 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The state is investigating a Burlington elementary school after an allegation of a student being improperly restrained, and now three district employees are on paid leave.

The alleged incident happened at the Flynn Elementary School in the city’s New North End. Families received a letter from Burlington School Superintendent Tom Flanagan saying that the principal and assistant principal had been placed on paid administrative leave.

Assistant Principal Herb Perez was placed on leave because of a complaint following an alleged inappropriate restraint of a student. The details of that event and what led up to it are unclear, but the Department for Children and Families and the Agency of Education are investigating. And the Burlington School District says it is launching an investigation too.

Officials say that while looking into Perez’s actions, the focus turned to principal Lashawn Whitmore-Sells. There are questions about her involvement, knowledge, and reporting of the restraint issue. And it turns out her license to work as a principal expired, so she is on leave now.

Flanagan also placed human resources director Susan Anderson-Brown on leave for not informing him about the principal’s lapsed license.

Neither the school district, DCF, nor Agency of Education officials would comment on the investigations.

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