SHS teacher arrested for classroom incident

SHS (Web)

By LINDSAY CAREY
STAFF WRITER

 

An incident report from Southington High School reveals how the school handled an intoxicated teacher on Nov. 6 and provides details surrounding a teacher’s inappropriate behavior towards students.

Based on the report, a few teachers came to the main office to report that teacher John Hansen had caused a loud disturbance in the hall during the Pledge of Allegiance.

The teachers reported to Assistant Principal Michael Halloran the disturbance was described as mutual horseplay, between Hansen and the student, who were both laughing and smiling.

Approximately 10 minutes later, a student went directly to Halloran’s office with even more news.

“We need your help upstairs, now,” said the student, according to the incident report. “Hansen is either drunk or high. Half the class is really freaked out and the girls are scared.”

Halloran responded by removing the teacher from the classroom and escorting him to meet with Principal Dr. Martin Semmel.

According to the report, Halloran noticed Hansen was “having difficulty walking down the stairs and bumps into lockers multiple times while walking down the front hallway.” The report also said that his “speech was noticeably slurred.”

Another teacher stepped in to take over Hansen’s classroom and the school psychologist also joined the class to help students process the events, according to the incident report.

When questioned about his behavior during the Pledge of Allegiance, Hansen said “it was not malicious, but instead playful.” However, he did acknowledge his behavior with the student was inappropriate.

The report also says that Hansen said he wanted to be honest about his behavior and made a confession.

“He confirmed he had drunk a bottle of vodka the previous night and had been intoxicated,” said the report. “He stated he did not feel intoxicated at the time and denied drinking on the way to or at work this day.”

After speaking with the director of personnel, the report explained, Semmel was advised to have Hansen escorted by school staff to a medical facility for testing. Hansen was escorted to the Hospital of Central Connecticut where the report said Hansen failed a breathalyzer test.

There were reports that there was video and pictures of Hansen’s behavior being circulated on social media. According to the report, Semmel met with one of the students who had video evidence of the incident. Semmel also consulted with the substitute school resource officer.

Later that day, Semmel met with school counselors and set a plan to have all students involved in the incident meet with their counselors. Semmel also sent out an email to the parents of the students involved informing them that there was an incident and the teacher was removed immediately.

The following day, seven students from the first period class and eight students from the second period class were interviewed by two SHS assistant principals.

Some of the comments noted in the report include that Hansen’s face was “noticeably red,” he had “repeated aspects of the lesson verbatim in immediate succession,” and there was “a wet spot on his pants in the groin area.”

There also were several comments from students quoting Hansen’s profane language both while speaking to himself and directly towards students, said the report.

Although it is not clear from the report what happened to the videos taken by students, the report said video evidence from the schools surveillance was used in the investigation.

According to the incident report, the footage shows Hansen entering the building that morning with “an erratic walking pattern that included veering off and bumping into the lockers as he walked down the hall.”

The incident report also explained a DCF worker from the New Britain office took an interest in the case.

Hansen has since resigned from his position. He also surrendered to the Southington Police Department on Dec. 9, after learning there was a warrant for his arrest because of the incident. He was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

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