The teacher and marching band director at East Haven High School will be reinstated after a thorough investigation by the administration and the police department.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Portia S. Bonner said the marching band director at East Haven High School, Matt Laudano, was placed on administrative leave after complaints he was verbally abusive.
Police previously told Eyewitness News after receiving the complaint, they said the “issues discussed do not meet the criteria for an arrest.” Following that the school did its own investigation.
Bonner said after more than "25 hours of interviews, reviews of student statements, reviews of parent and alumni statements, as well as personal conversations with numerous individuals," he was reinstated as a teacher and will return as marching band director at East Haven High School.
Bonner called the events "were truly unfortunate" and added "this situation tainted this year's very successful marching band season."
The alleged verbal exchange happened after a disappointing finish at a band competition over the weekend. One parent was so upset they called police.
"You don't like to hear anything negative happening in your community, especially when it comes to the kids," said Teena Fucci, who is an East Haven parent. "I'm glad that the school did their investigation and figured everything out and got both sides of the story."
Some students and alumni supported Laudano, and one former band member wrote a letter to the superintendent stating he was tough but fair and excellent at his job, saying "Yes, he got frustrated sometimes...he reprimanded us when necessary. But he did not emotionally abuse his students...Mr. Laudano is more than our teacher. He is our coach, leader, and supporter."
Laudano did not return a request for comment from Eyewitness News.
"Statements were made by both students and adults that were either misinterpreted, intended to be delivered with the purpose of supporting all students and educating students with respect to their role as a member of a group. When individuals are passionate about something that they love, emotions sometimes get the best of them. The most important piece is that this be taken as a learning opportunity, individuals take accountability for their actions, and that we as a group move forward together," Bonner said in a statement on Wednesday.
The East Haven High School is currently preparing for its last competitive event of the year.
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