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TECEC Student Intends to Sue Trumbull [Updated]

Police said a Trumbull Early Childhood Education teacher pushed the 3-year-old's head down onto her desk. The child later claimed injuries.

Editor's note: A previous version of the story identified the girl, but her name has been retracted. Trumbull Patch regrets the error.

As the criminal charge against Jean Marie Pulaski proceeds, the parent of the child she's accused of abusing is planning to sue the town, the school superintendent and the Board of Education.

Pulaski, 48, a veteran teacher, is accused of pushing the child's head down on her desk. She's charged with breach of the peace and her case was continued to Sept. 21 in Bridgeport Superior Court. Pulaski, who is free on $10,000 bond, has applied for a special form of probation for first-time alleged offenders that results in dismissal of the charges.

She is on leave from TECEC.

The child's parent, Athena Perez-Zamri, alleges that on April 24, 2012, the child left her seat in a TECEC classroom and the teacher "forcefully grasped [her] by the shoulders and reseated her. Ms. Pulaski then lifted the chair and roughly pushed it closer to the table then grabbed [her] hair and pushed her head down striking her head on the table top while harshly speaking to [her] in front of the class and the school nurse."

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According to the Connecticut Post newspaper, "Pulaski's lawyer, William Westcott, objected to the continuance. 'Mrs. Pulaski continues to maintain she didn't do anything wrong and that is consistent with the school's findings,' he said later. 'But she certainly recognizes this case has upset the mother of the child.'"

The girl sustained "physical and emotional injury including a mark behind the right ear and a black and blue lip which required medical attention," said Attorney Robert A. Photos, in a filing with the Trumbull Town Clerk.

The filing does not specify damages sought.

stephanie August 29, 2012 at 10:59 AM
Why did you publish such a young child's name?
Ed Miller August 29, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Kudos to the Zamri family (the child's name should not have been published). Trumbull's BOE needs to hire competent professionals capable of working with special needs children. I hope this sends the BOE a message.
Aaron Leo (Editor) August 29, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Thanks for your thoughts on the identification of the girl. After contemplation, I have removed her name because she is a minor and an alleged victim and her name is not vital to the story.
Francis August 29, 2012 at 08:30 PM
What a bunch of crap! Back in the late 1950s and early 60s The School Sisters of Notre Dame, who taught in St Theresa's elementary school in Trumbull, showed that they believed in "spare the rod, spoil the child!" with gusto! My friends and I were very familar with what a yardstick feels like when it smashes down on your outstretched hand. I stole and hid several of these yardsticks but the nuns seemed to have an infinite supply! I was very happy to finally graduate and start attending Trumbull High School... but what I want to stress is that I suspect, given this economic climate, many parents are looking for any way possible to make an extra buck, and suing the school and this teacher, for disciplining the kid is oportunistic behavior at it's worst.
Trumbull Holmes August 30, 2012 at 01:14 AM
We trust early childhood professionals with our children and under no circumstances should a teacher be so forceful that it would leave a mark. If a teacher can't handle the pressures of a classroom, maybe it is time to choose a different profession. Fortunately, if DCF substantiates the abuse, she will not be able to work with children again.
Ed Miller August 30, 2012 at 03:15 AM
I am in complete agreement with you Trumbull Holmes. It is the 1950's mentality that is a big part of the issue here that would make someone believe that this type of behavior is acceptable. Additionally, these teachers may need additional training.
Francis September 01, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Dear Ed, I know modern parents who are afraid to enforce the law in their own homes because their demonic children threaten to call 911 and say that their parents hit them or abused them. Attempted "time outs" are laughed at and ignored. If you were up against Hitler in the 1940's would you invite him in for coffee and try to reason with him, or would you take a pistol and blow his brains out? Sometimes kids and dictators need to be handled with force, because anything else simply is not understood. And Athena, I don't think that you have any right suing the town that I was raised in, simply because it is difficult to make much money in the real estate business these past few years. You may as well sue the Ct Post for their front page headline a few days ago stating that home values are still falling in Fairfield County. (Making it less likely that people would be buying homes at the moment) If you won a lawsuit against the town, and taxes were raised because of it, you would be causing harm to my 85 year old Mom, who has had absolutely nothing to do with you or your child.
Shirley B. Backus October 01, 2012 at 03:22 AM
The child was deliberately misbehaving. Parents need to teach their children to behave in the classroom. Besides, the school nurse found no visable injury: no bruise, nothing. If the child had a bruise later on, I suspect the mother. She's just fishing for somebody to sue. Let the teachers maintain control of their classrooms and teach the kids right from wrong. it wasn't the teacher who was in "Breach of the Peace", it was the child!
Shirley B. Backus October 01, 2012 at 03:28 AM
It's not the teachers who need additional training, it's the children and their parents! Come on people, wake up! The reason that there's so much violence in schools today is because kids are not taught at an early age to respect authority and behave in a civilized manner. Teachers like Ms. Pulaski should not be removed from their classrooms - kids like this disruptive child should be removed from the school sent to a boarding school where they can be taught how to behave. "Francis" in the comment below has a much better understanding of the problem than Ed Miller does.
Shirley B. Backus October 01, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Again, I must point out that the school nurse found no injuries in this child after the incident. If she had injuries afterwards, they were not caused by Ms. Pulaski. Stop persecuting the teachers for trying to maintain order in their classrooms. When one child disrupts the class, nobody learns anything. It's not fair to the other students, and it's not fair to the teacher. Remove the problem child, not the teacher!
Trumbull 101 October 01, 2012 at 11:35 AM
I am sorry Shirley and Francis. You lost me on...... "grabbed [her] hair and pushed her head down striking her head on the table top while harshly speaking to [her] in front of the class and the school nurse." Unacceptable under any circumstances.
Joan October 01, 2012 at 12:10 PM
A four-year-old child (with special needs?) was "deliberately misbehaving" and needed to have her head slammed into a desk to teach her to behave?? Seriously?
Trumbull 101 October 01, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Agreed Joan. Couldn't believe what I was reading.
trumbulite09 October 01, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I don't think any one that does not teach can now what it is like to handle handicap children every day. At the sametime, if you do not have a handicap child you have no idea how to raise one. However, I am disheartened that the family thinks the answer is suing. That hurts every child in the school system including their own. The right thing was done, the teacher was reported, the police investigated, the teacher is being disciplined. It might not be to the family satisfcation but that is how the law works. By suing, you take time and resources away from the school, including programs for the handicap. In addition, the nurse might be hesistant to report it next time. I wish the family would reconsider.
Joan October 01, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Well, the nurse is a mandated reporter, so I would certainly expect that she would continue to fulfill her professional and ethical obligations.
trumbulite09 October 01, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Joan - I know the nurse and I know she would but you have to admit it was a tough thing to do and now the victims family now suing the Board of Ed, The Town and The Superintendent I would think anyone would wonder if they did the right thing. Lawsuits hurt everyone. The BoE, The Superintendent, and the Town did what they were supposed. They removed the teacher from the classroom, reported it to the family, reported it the police. Why now should they be sued?
Joan October 01, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I'm not saying they should be sued. I'm just saying that teachers & school nurses are mandated reporters, and they can't let this kind of thing go unreported if for no other reason than that their own careers could go down the drain if they do. (Although I think most would report more out of an interest in the child's welfare.)
Joan October 01, 2012 at 03:52 PM
P.S. As mandated reporters, school nurses, etc. are require by law to report such incidents. I certainly hope that no one would be prevented from doing so because of thoughts about possible future lawsuits against the school district.
Shirley B. Backus October 02, 2012 at 04:01 AM
It's too bad you listen only to the mother's side of the story. According to the teacher, school nurse, and other school officials, the child's head was gently lowered to the desk - not slammed as her mother claims. This woman is exaggerating in order to find somebody to sue. That's all. I don't think it's "unacceptable to speak harshly to a child and show her what you mean when she doesn't act like she understands. The trouble with children today is that they are undisciplined and wild. It's the parents' responsibility to teach them right from wrong and how to behave. This child's mother failed on both counts and wants the school and/or the teacher to pay for it in order to shift the blame from herself. Since there were no injuries on this child when she left the school that day, it is obvious that she suffered them elsewhere, if she suffered them at all.

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