Principal suspended in wake of aide allegations
By Marie Szaniszlo and O’Ryan Johnson | Saturday, December 17, 2011 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Local Coverage
ACCUSED: Teacher’s aide LaShawn Hill appears in Dorchester District Court yesterday.
Photo by Chitose Suzuki
The principal of King Elementary School in Dorchester has been suspended without pay for failing to notify authorities of an allegation that a teacher’s aide inappropriately touched a special needs student last spring.
Jessica Bolt, who has worked in the schools for more than 30 years and has an exemplary record, has been suspended for two weeks, according to Boston Public Schools spokesman Matthew Wilder.
Bolt investigated the allegation last April against teacher’s aide LaShawn Hill and concluded there was not reasonable cause to believe the child was put in danger, according to a statement from Superintendent Carol R. Johnson. Because she did not file a report or notify anyone, which violated school policies, Johnson said yesterday that Bolt would be suspended immediately.
Hill was held on $10,000 bail yesterday after he pleaded not guilty to a charge of lewd and lascivious behavior in an incident involving an autistic student at Harbor Pilot School.
A teacher told police she found Hill and the student with their pants unzipped, said prosecutor Leora Joseph. Hill, 33, a married father of three whose wife runs a day-care center out of their home, allegedly told the teacher he was trying to explain masturbation to the child, Joseph said.
“This case involves a particularly vulnerable child, which makes it all the more heartbreaking,” she said.
“It sounds like the Catholic Church in Boston,” said City Councilor Charles Yancey. “Action should have been taken right away. … One of the few things that we have to offer the parents of Boston is that their child will be safe when they go to school. This whole case has tarnished that.”
Hill pleaded not guilty Thursday to larceny charges in connection with the theft of five laptops from the Harbor Pilot School. He has been suspended without pay, Wilder said, and school officials have moved to fire him.
His cousin Mary Hill told reporters yesterday LaShawn Hill was abused as a child by a relative who has since died. “He never got help for it,” she said.
The day-care center run by Hill’s wife has been advised to voluntarily close during a “top-to-bottom” review by the state Department of Early Education and Care, said spokeswoman Heather Johnson.
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