Ansonia Principal On Leave, School Officials Quiet

Ansonia school officials and school board members would not comment Thursday as to why high school principal Terri Goldson is on administrative leave.

Efforts to reach Goldson were unsuccessful.

No one would say whether the action is related to Goldson’s Twitter account, which shows a “like” of a Nov. 6 28-second pornographic video.

The video was still among Goldson’s list of 535 publicly-available “likes” on Twitter as of 2 p.m. Thursday.

How the video was “liked” remains unclear.

But in a Dec. 19 Facebook post on his personal page, Goldson acknowledged the Twitter situation and indicated it was an accident.

“There was a very inappropriate video with sexual content on my Twitter feed today. Please … be careful with social media,” he wrote.

Goldson and his family are well-respected in Ansonia, with a long record of public service.

On an Ansonia community page on Facebook, some on the page were aware of the Twitter video “like.”

They cautioned against a rush to judgement.

They said it’s plausible Goldson was scrolling on a phone and hit a “like” when he had not meant to do so.

That could happen if someone you follow on Twitter shares inappropriate content sourced from an account you do not follow. That inappropriate content will appear in your feed even if you don’t follow the original account from which it originated.

You would have to click a small heart icon under the inappropriate content in order for it to show up in your list of Twitter “likes.” Removing a mistaken “like” can be done by clicking the same icon.

A user’s individual settings can be adjusted to block “not safe for work” content from others appearing in your Twitter feed.

School Leaders Mum

Meanwhile, school officials declined to explain the situation, couching it as a “personnel matter.”

A person answering the phone at the high school said Goldson was not in Thursday but that an “offsite meeting” was scheduled.

Superintendent Carol Merlone initially would not even say who was running the high school in Goldson’s apparent absence.

When first contacted by a reporter, the superintendent directed her assistant to tell The Valley Indy that the matter is “a personnel issue and it’s under investigation.”

The Valley Indy emailed Merlone asking who was investigating Goldson, and whether the Twitter “like” was the subject of the investigation.

Thursday afternoon Merlone said in an email that Goldson is on administrative leave.

“We received allegations,” Merlone said. “I cannot comment on the allegations. An investigation is being conducted. Mr. Goldson is on administrative leave.”

Although “personnel” issues are often used by local government as a reason not to discuss controversial issues with the public, public employee personnel files are public documents, a fact re-affirmed in Connecticut case law.

The Valley Indy Thursday sent Merlone a Freedom of Information request for Goldson’s personnel file.

The Valley Indy also reached out to members of the Board of Education for information. They are the officials elected by the public to supervise the city’s schools.

Board of Education President William Nimons replied in a text message saying “Sorry, I can’t talk right now.”

Board member Tracey DeLibero declined to comment.

Board member John Izzo said he couldn’t say much.

“I’m not fully aware of what has transpired and would defer any questions to the superintendent’s office,” he said. “As a board member I hope additional information will be forthcoming.”

The Valley Indy emailed Bridget Calabrese, the president of the Ansonia Administrators Organization, the union which represents Goldson and other school administrators.

She did not respond as of 7 p.m. Thursday.

Mayor David Cassetti said in an email he hasn’t heard anything either.

The “investigation” cited by Merlone is not criminal. Ansonia police are not involved.

Goldson became high school principal last year after having served as a principal at Ansonia Middle School and Mead School.

He uses Twitter effectively, always highlighting good things happening at the high school.

Earlier this year posted a locally popular video showing students reacting to U.S. News & World Report highlighting Ansonia High School.

His salary is $144,000, according to the school district’s contract with administrators.


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