D.A. to investigate claims of abuse at Holyoke school

Says he was unaware of accusations until report released to media

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni is launching an investigation into alleged abuse of students at the William R. Peck School in Holyoke, one week after a disability advocacy group report was released.

Last week, the Disability Law Center released results of an investigation into complaints about use of excessive force against special needs students at the elementary school. Among the allegations made in the report: a student lost a tooth while being restrained, students were thrown to the floor, and students were restrained in a lying-down position.

During a news conference at his Springfield office Monday morning, Gulluni said he did not know about the accusations while the DLC’s investigation was going on.

“I became award of those allegations as did many people from media reports just last week.  It was something unknown to folks in law enforcement, including myself.  When I became aware of them, it obviously raised some red flags and was very troubling,” Gulluni said.

State troopers assigned to Gulluni’s office will now look into the allegations made in the DLC report, as well as the conduct of staff and the response of administrators. “The District Attorney, I, along with the state police attached to my office are beginning an investigation into those allegations. When I became aware of them, it obviously raised some red flags and were very troubling,” he said.

The report was also troubling to many parents.

Megan Kirouac’s two children were students at the Peck School a few years ago. She told 22News her kids seemed happy there at the time. “Their experience was great I can’t complain. They only went there for the one year, and I had no issues. But you never know what to believe anymore these days,” she said.

Gullini said although the Disability Law Center’s a legitimate organization, they’re not law enforcement.

The district attorney said that his launching of an investigation should not suggest that he is adopting the DLC’s findings, saying that they are a legitimate organization, but they are not law enforcement.

He said that parents of Peck School students, or anyone else who may have any information on the case should call State Police at 413-505-5993 or utilize Text-a-Tip: text “Crimes: or 274637, and begin the message with “Solve.”

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