REPOST – ARTICLE SOURCE:
MIDDDLETOWN — An employee with the Connecticut Juvenile Training School protested Monday afternoon against what he calls unfair treatment of employees at the school.
Fred Phillips said his locker was searched at the state facility for delinquent boys after state police brought dogs into the school to search for cell phones, which students are prohibited to have, as well as drugs.
Phillips said he returned from lunch one day to find the lock on his locker cut and the contents ransacked. He was told by a manager that a dog “hit” on his locker, or the dog picked up the scent of drugs, but nothing was found in the locker, Phillips said.
The search was supposed to take place in the residential area of the school and not the employee area, he said.
Phillips is also alleging he was assaulted by a female manager when he was responding to a call for an out-of-control resident. Phillips said the manager grabbed his arm to stop him from responding to the call, saying there were enough orderlies assisting with the incident. He said she then pushed him. Phillips said he filed charges with the police.
Lastly, Phillips said the staff at the school is treated unfairly, contending that there are double standards and the staff is top heavy with administration.
Gary Kleeblatt, a spokesman for the Department of Children and Families which oversees the Connecticut Juvenile Training School, said the CJTS supports its employees.
“CJTS has many committed and hard working employees,” Kleeblatt said. “Management supports and values the staff in their demanding jobs serving the youths at CJTS.”
Managers “maintain open communications” with staff and are responsive when issues do arise and try to solve them when ever possible, Kleeblatt said.
Kleeblatt said Phillips’ allegations that he was assaulted by staff and the number of managers employed at the agency were “inaccurate,” though he would not elaborate further. Phillips can pursue his complaint that his locker was wrongly searched through legal or administrative means, Kleeblatt said.
A coalition of activists calling themselves The Connecticut Truth Force have previously drawn attention to allegations of racism at the training school, where some minority employees say they’ve been treated unfairly. Cornell Lewis, a CJTS youth service officer and minister, has assisted with protests at the school. Last year, he waged a seven-day hunger strike to protest the alleged hostile work environment at CJTS. Other grassroots groups have since joined Lewis to demand the DCF address the situation.
CF has said it takes diversity and fairness seriously and top administrators have met with Lewis. They said he needs to offer specific instances of unfair treatment so the agency can act.