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Doug Russell, a teacher and girls’ cross country and track and field coach at Newtown High School, was placed on administrative leave, on December 5, while an investigation of an incident near his property unfolds.
“Effective Monday, December 5, Doug Russell, a special education teacher and athletic coach at Newtown High School, has been placed on administrative leave with pay, pending an investigation of matters related to Mr Russell’s conduct. It would not be appropriate for me to comment regarding the details of the matter, as the matter is currently under investigation. I can state, however, that the matter does not involve Mr Russell’s interactions with students, student-athletes, or other children,” Superintendent Of Schools Dr Joseph V Erardi, Jr, said in an e-mail to The Newtown Bee on Wednesday, December 7.
“I want to emphasize that the district’s decision to place Mr Russell on leave does not reflect any determination that Mr Russell has engaged in improper conduct. Rather, Mr Russell has been placed on administrative leave so that an investigation can proceed effectively, with full protection of Mr Russell’s rights,” according to Dr Erardi.
“There is an ongoing investigation involving Mr Russell of Aunt Park Lane,” Newtown Police Sergeant Aaron Bahamonde said on December 7.
According to police incident logs, at 6:10 am on December 1, police received a complaint involving “suspicious activity” on Aunt Park Lane.
“We are in the early stages of the investigation and expect that the investigation will take a couple of weeks to conclude,” Sgt Bahamonde said. “The school [system] is being cautious as the investigation proceeds.”
As of the middle of this week there was no word as to who would take over coaching duties for the winter track team, which is in its preseason training. Mr Russell was selected as the Connecticut High School Coaches Association as the Coach of the Year in 2015.