Middletown school officials announce plan for Farm Hill School - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Middletown superintendent releases plan for Farm Hill School


Middletown School Superintendent Michael J. Frechette has released a support plan for Farm Hill School.

The plan was released one day after several parents attended a Board of Education meeting Tuesday night to voice concern over certain rooms, but Frechette said the school board has been working on a plan for months.  

The so-called scream rooms came to light after the president of the Farm Hill Parent Teacher Association reached out to Frechette, the Board of Education and mayor about the rooms, which have concrete walls and are meant for students who can't control their anger.

Some parents say the rooms are a distraction to students, a disruption to the learning process and they're afraid a child could get seriously hurt.

One parent said some students are made to stop their lesson and either read or color to try to ignore the blood-curdling screams coming from inside the rooms. Some even take their books and pencils into a different location in the school.

Frechette's letter, dated Jan. 10 to the school's principal Pat Girard, outlines several support measures the school must take. They include the development of a climate to address building needs and increasing the present half-time school psychologist to full-time.

Frechette's letter also states the school must take the following action steps: implement an in-school suspension and detention program for at-risk students, hold a weekly social skills lesson, an in-house mentoring program, morning meetings, monthly students recognition and quarterly rally recognition event.

But Krista Santagata is ready to pull her kids out of Farm Hill School. She said her 6-year-old daughter was assaulted in class when a student threw books at her.

"My husband and I have crunched numbers, it's going to be very difficult for us, but our kids safety is the main priority," she said.

Her concerns are shared by the state Office Of The Child Advocate, which is investigating the rooms.

Child Advocate Jeanne Millstein said what the agency has learned has left it deeply concerned.

The PTA will be meeting on Thursday at 6:30 for its regularly scheduled meeting where the plan will be discussed.

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