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Branford Teacher Involved in Knife Incident Fired

Branford Board of Education voted to let go of high school teacher Carolyn Lippolis – the teacher who allegedly displayed a knife in class last January.

At a special meeting of the Branford Board of Education last night, the BOE voted unanimously to fire freshman high school teacher Carolyn Lippolis according to the New Haven Register

Lippolis was accused of allegedly showing a knife in the classroom last January.

Following the incident, Lippolis, who was not named at the time, was placed on administrative leave. Superintendent Hamlet Hernandez said in an intial press release: “…Preliminary information is that the teacher displayed a knife in class. It appears that the teacher’s conduct was intended as a joke.”

Shortly after the incident occurred, Branford Police launched an investigation. In April, the warrant for the teacher’s arrest was denied.

The Register reported that “dozens” of people came out to support Lippolis at last night’s meeting, but ultimately she was let go.

The Board of Edcuation has their regular meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in the Francis Walsh Intermediate School faculty lounge. Click here for meeting agenda

Do you agree with the Board’s decision?

victoria verderame November 28, 2012 at 04:09 PM
What happened at the BOE special meeting last night was nothing short of a disaster. The town had the nerve to call it an "open meeting," when not one tax payer was allowed to speak! So many turned out to support Mrs. Lippolis and none were allowed to be heard. The meeting was just a called for protocol purposes, objections were fell on deaf ears who already had their minds made up. The whole thing was blown out of proportion. She went above and beyond the call of duty for her students, that is why so many alumni came out to support her. She was a teacher whose class you looked forward to going to, enjoyed being in, and didn't want it to end. She taught us more then the subject matter, but real life lessons! That is what teaching is all about. I wonder if the Superintendent's nephew will have the same kind of effect on his students since the BOE gave him her job back in August! There is so much of this story that has been left out.
Nicole Ball November 28, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Thanks for commenting Victoria. I didn't even know the meeting was happening so I apologize for not being able to provide more reporting.
TB November 28, 2012 at 04:43 PM
I have heard so many "stories" regarding this incident...can someone comment briefly on what happened? I know a knife was shown but what kind of knife was it and why did she show it? I heard it was a joke and no students actually felt threatened. I have a student that went out to support her and he was very upset that no one was able to talk also.
victoria verderame November 28, 2012 at 06:47 PM
TB, the knife actually came from the cooking class. She borrowed it to cut a cake that she had during a classroom party. It was nothing more then a butter knife. When she teaching her lesson about the cast system in India, she of course, discussed brandishing. She took out the butter knife, held it to her skin and stated that obviously this would not pierce skin but to brandish is to and then visually showed the class what it was, and put the butter knife away. Very simple. She did not threaten her students, nor did she hold it to a student. Purely used for visual demonstration purposes ONLY. Not to mention, this butter knife was not even hers, but the school's. Another interesting tid bit left out was that Mrs. Lippolis received an award for her teaching at the beginning of the same year she was placed on leave! Talk about highly ironic!
Asia Chea November 28, 2012 at 08:31 PM
This was definitely absurd and unjustified. If it was an 'open meeting' then all who came to appeal should have been able to speak. I think our BOE is slacking as well as taking advantage of their titles. Mrs. Lippolis like Vic said is a very kind teacher. Now I may not have had her as a teacher, but briefly as a club advisor! She's a outgoing, kind, and bright! She deserves for her name to be cleared as well as another chance. Maybe an even better job with a better pay that for what my (shameful to say) old high school pays her.
Arbie November 28, 2012 at 09:01 PM
To sum it up, the way I understand it the "knife" was a plastic one. Three spoiled brats that were failing the class for not doing their homework saw this as an opportunity to "cash in". This case shows the teachers that the union will not stand up for them, the Superintendent will not support them and the BOE is a bunch of spineless individuals.
TB November 28, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Who reported the teacher? And really a plastic knife??
samantha daniele November 28, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Is it true that her job was filled by one of the board's family members?
Crystal Gray November 28, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Samantha: her job went to the superintendent's nephew What happened last night was a disgusting act of superiority that gave no benefit to anyone. I was at the meeting, and I was astonished at the actions of the board of education. Last night Branford School District lost one of the best teachers they had, in my opinion the best they had. Mrs. Lippolis is a kind hearted woman who deserved much better, it is a shame.
Anna Iacovella November 28, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Outrageous! If the teacher is a valuable one we all need to support her. I do not know her. However, after reading the comments above, I believe we should all pursue justice. Nicole, any suggestions?
victoria verderame November 28, 2012 at 11:40 PM
TB, the student who reported her was bragging the next day to her friends how she was gonna get Mrs. Lippolis fired. The same student was also not recieving good grades and saw this as vengeance. Despite Mrs. Lippolis offering to help her and giving her the opportunity to make up assignments, etc. And Samantha, yes they replaced her with the Superintendents name sake nephew. Initially, the superintendent denied it was his nephew, but this teacher is the same teacher who replaced Ms. Wright a few years back when she had surgery. At the time, Hernandez stated that it was his nephew. Clearly a cover up by the administration and BOE.
Asia Chea November 29, 2012 at 12:17 AM
Oh God, it's a conspiracy to take over the school with other bunch of people that won't uphold the BHS motto. All the good teachers will be gone, and that student will regret getting Mrs. L fired. Karma.
Arbie November 29, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Once upon a time, many years ago...... Branford had one of the best school systems in the state. Now years later we have over paid administrators and a good for nothing BOE who were probably bullied by spoiled brat parents with influence with this decision. In the end a good teacher pays for it. Who will be next?
victoria verderame November 29, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Here is my take on the situation in its entirety, I am sorry but I can sit around. The press needs to hear HER side of the story and what her students think. http://www.thinkgem.net/2012/11/29/were-fighting-the-good-fight/
Nicole Ball November 29, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Thanks for sharing your testimony for Mrs. Lippolis, Victoria. Would you like to run this as a letter to the editor as well? I can do that here on Patch if you want. Please let me know. I attended the BOE meeting last night hoping they might mention something but had to leave after three hours. School reports from HS, Middle, Elementary and Special Education were presented last night in the first part of the meeting. I will check and see if anything was eventually mentioned, though there was no indication on the BOE agenda that they would discuss it. Thanks-- Nicole

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