By TAYLOR HARTZ
Matthew Golchin, 10th grade Language Arts teacher at Southington High School, has been cleared of criminal charges surrounding an incident that occurred in his eighth period class on Sept. 18, where police say he placed a perimeter of duct tape around the desk of one of his students to prevent him from further disrupting the class.
According to a report released Tuesday by the Southington Police Department (SPD) “no violation of criminal law regarding this incident was found as a result of this investigation.”
The police department first heard reports of an incident at the high school at 3:45pm on Sept. 18, followed by a complaint to Lieutenant Elliott (SPD) by Board of Education (BOE) Assistant Superintendent Steven Madancy.
Investigating Officer Detective Lewis Palmieri contacted Madancy just after 4 p.m. on Sept. 18, when Madancy said the BOE did not wish to initiate a criminal investigation.
At this time the BOE had already begun an administrative inquiry, conducted interviews, and filed a Department of Children and Families referral.
Soon after, SHS Principal Brian Stranieri contacted Palmeri to provide the name of the teacher, Jennifer Daly, who reported hearing of the incident, the name of the student involved, and to identify Golchin.
The name of the student involved was not released in the report.
Stranieri also reported to the police that the duct tape never came in contact with the student and would not have prevented him from exiting his desk safely in the event of an emergency.
Both Golchin and the student reported that the teacher pulled the student’s desk to the back of the classroom and faced him toward the wall after Golchin felt the student had become a distraction to the rest of the class during an exercise in silent sustained reading.
When the student turned back to face the classroom, police reported that Golchin placed duct tape around the legs of his desk.
Golchin, who has been a teacher at SHS for eight years and served as a football and rugby coach, described the student as “polite and respectful” but said he had been “a challenge over the past couple weeks to re-direct.”
In his report submitted to the BOE and SPD, Golchin explained that his actions constituted an attempt to use humor as a “classroom management tool” he often employed for more challenging classes.
The incident occurred in a lower level college preparation (CP) class, in which Golchin said students are often “inherently distracted” or have “learning deficits.”
Golchin expressed regret for his behavior, saying “I acknowledge my error in judgement” and “I am ashamed of my actions.”
He said he hopes he will be allowed the opportunity to apologize to the student and his parents.
Police reported that the investigation was closed with no anticipation of an arrest.