Saturday, April 09, 2016

New Haven magnet school teacher charged with sexual assault of student

A magnet school teacher was arrested and charged with second-degree sexual assault Wednesday following allegations made by a student, the city said.

Kirvanna Jones, a math teacher at Engineering and Science University Magnet Middle and High School, a New Haven public school located in Hamden, also is charged with risk of injury to a minor, according to a press release from the city. School officials said Feb. 4 that a teacher had been placed on administrative leave following allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a student.

Superintendent of Schools Garth Harries said in a written statement Wednesday that he was notified of the arrest earlier in the day. He confirmed that Jones was the teacher placed on administrative leave last week.

“The (arrest) warrant includes very serious allegations that, if true, break the fundamental trust and professional responsibility carried by every educator,” Harries said in the statement. “My primary and immediate concern remains, however, the well-being of students. The district has deployed resources to support the entire ESUMS community and continues to monitor the school closely.”

Harries said the teacher is entitled to a presumption of innocence and due process. Jones will remain out of the school on paid leave as required by law, Harries said.

“The NHPS investigation will follow that of the police department, gathering the relevant evidence and then determining the next steps,” Harries said.

New Haven police said last week that they were investigating the allegations, but the teacher’s name was not released because she had not been charged. The investigation was prompted when a student at ESUMS reported “unprofessional conduct by a teacher” involving another student, according to the release.

An arrest warrant for Jones was obtained Wednesday after an investigation led by the New Haven Special Victims Unit, or SVU.

“The investigation to date has revealed no evidence to indicate that any other students or teachers are involved in the alleged misconduct,” the city release said. “The (New Haven Police Department) commends lead investigator Detective Shana Kendall and the detectives and supervisors of the SVU for their effective pursuit of this investigation. It also thanks the Board of Education and its staff for its cooperation throughout this investigation.”

Jones had been a teacher at ESUMS since August 2014. According to her biography on the school’s website, Jones is a New Haven native who attended New Haven Public Schools. She attended the University of Hartford from 2010 to 2014, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics. She taught algebra and geometry at ESUMS and tutored at the New Haven Adult Education Center.

Jones was being held in lieu of $75,000 bail. A court date was not listed.


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