Killingly Board of Education chairwoman resigns

Killingly Board Chairwoman Janice Joly resigned on Friday after growing criticisms of her opposition to a proposed free school based mental health center.
Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 3:18 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 9, 2022 at 11:14 PM EDT
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KILLINGLY, Conn. (WFSB) - Killingly Board Chairwoman Janice Joly resigned on Friday after growing criticisms of her opposition to a proposed free school based mental health center.

The chairwoman did not give a reason for stepping down in her resignation letter, but some students and parents said it was the right call.

Julia Revellese is a former Killingly high school student who has struggled with mental health issues in school.

“I had to do what was best for me and miss education to go to a therapist,” she said. “And I feel like if our school gets this school based mental health center… I feel like it would do a lot for that community

Revellese attended killingly high school for two years and left because of lack of mental health resources.

“You know Janice Jolly resigning, I think, is best for all at this point because she did not seem obviously invested in our mental health and we need someone who can be,” said Revellese.

Joly submitted her resignation to the town clerk on Friday reading, “please be advised that effective immediately, on Friday, April 8, 2022, I am resigning my position as a member of the Killingly Board of Education.”

Joly’s departure comes on the heels of her opposing a no-cost mental/behavioral health center that was rejected by the towns Board of Education. It is not clear if she has resigned due to this.

Just this week more than 50 Killingly parents and residents added their names to a complaint to the Connecticut Department of Education regarding this, including Christine Rosati Randall.

“Killingly students grade 7 through 12 had taken a student survey where 14.7 students that had responded indicated that they had thoughts of hurting themselves and had made a suicide plan,” said Randall.

Randall is referring to the special board of education meeting that took place on March 16th.

Residents have spoken out because the meeting was not recorded, which they say is unusual.

“Our chair, Janice Jolly, had questioned if they were honest responses and you can hear the gasps in the room and that led to the immediate out cry of her resignation,” said Randall.

One of the students who spoke at this meeting, Seth Varin, had this to say: “Towards the end of the meeting she pretty much said we were liars and that the information given on the survey was not accurate and you have to think if kids really felt that way most of the time if they keep that a secret.”

We did inquire about this missing recording and in a letter the superintendent of the schools says it was due to technical issues and lack of equipment.

Now, Randall and others say they want the focus to return to mental health resources.

We are hoping that the Board of Education reconsiders their decision if additional data is needed ask for it if they need clarification of any point ask for it and listen to the students and staff,” said Randall.

Varin stated, “I would like to see the Board of Education approve this, not just for me, but for the future and future grades because even if you save one life this would be worth it.”

We also have reached out to the Board of Education regarding the reasoning for the chairwoman stepping down and were told to contact her directly.

We have not heard back from her.