Parents seek answers after investigation into Cranston teacher

Parents seek answers after investigation into Cranston teacher

by: ,

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — As the school year comes to a close, parents in Cranston say they have more questions than answers regarding an investigation into whether a teacher at Stadium Elementary School crossed the line with a young student.


The girl’s mother told Target 12 she felt angry and upset when she learned about what allegedly happened to her 8-year-old daughter inside a classroom on multiple occasions.

“He would just call her and pull her away from the friends and just to go into his desk and have her sitting on his legs to see his tablet or his computer,” she explained.

“Or, ‘If you give me a hug, I can let you go.’ Once my daughter would be giving him a hug, he wouldn’t let her go at all,” the mother added.

Another child’s parents said they contacted the school in April with concerns about their student’s grades.

“She was like, ‘No, he doesn’t really pay attention to me or any of us,’” one parent recalled. “She mentioned that her friend was his favorite student … he always lets her play with his computer and he tells her to sit on his lap,” one parent recalled.

But by the end of that week, the teacher was still there, according to the parents, while the girl’s mother never heard from the school department.

“[The administrator] knew that on a Wednesday, and then Thursday, Friday, and I heard nothing from her,” the mother said. “I learned what was happening because the other parents that told me what happened on a Friday afternoon.”

She then called Cranston police, who launched an investigation. Chief Michael Winquist told Target 12 that a school administrator did notify the R.I. Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) as required by law.

A detective then interviewed about a half a dozen students, who all shared consistent stories about the teacher.

“[My son] likes his teacher, but he was asked if he had ever seen a child on his teacher’s lap and he confirmed that he had,” another parent said to Target 12.

But when police presented the facts of the case to a judge, Winquist said the judge did not believe there was enough probable cause to file charges against the teacher.

“You send your kids to school so they can learn, make friends … and you trust these teachers,” the girl’s mother added. “You think they are going to be safe there.”

One of the parents said they were told by the administration that the teacher was no longer at the school.

The teacher’s attorney, Kevin Daley, released a statement saying that his client “categorically and vehemently denies any allegations of any wrongdoing.”

“The teacher is extremely hard-working and dedicated and a well-respected educator in the city of Cranston who works tirelessly to foster the best interests for his students,” the statement continued.

The school sent a letter to parents in late April saying that a new administrator would be taking over, but it remains unclear if there will be a permanent change in leadership.

Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse’s office did not respond to Target 12’s inquiries about the letter. When asked about the administrator’s and teachers employment status, Nota-Masse declined to comment.

Target 12 also reached out to the administrator, but did not hear back.