Teacher’s aide on leave after drug arrest

By Rachael Scarborough King, Register Staff
Dec. 8, 2007

NORTH BRANFORD — A teacher’s aide at Guilford High School was placed on administrative leave after North Branford police arrested him early Friday on charges of possession of crack cocaine, according to the Police Department and school officials.

Jeffrey Sullivan, 25, of Guilford, was a passenger in a car that officers pulled over for speeding on Route 80 at around midnight Thursday, according to police. The driver, James Colonese, 22, of Guilford, tried to elude police by pulling into an industrial site, Detective Ken McNamara said.

When the officers stopped the car they found a small plastic bag containing a white powder, which tested positive for properties of crack cocaine, on the car’s passenger-side floor, police said. Because neither man claimed ownership of the bag, both were arrested and charged with possession of narcotics and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Colonese was also charged with speeding and failure to obey an officer’s signal to stop. Both men were released on a promise to appear Dec. 19 in New Haven Superior Court.

Sullivan has an unlisted telephone number and could not be reached for comment. A call for comment to Colonese’s house was not returned.

Guilford Superintendent of Schools Thomas Forcella said he learned of the arrests Friday morning. After meeting with Sullivan, he placed him on administrative leave pending an internal investigation of the allegations.

Sullivan has worked as a para-educator, a teacher’s aide position that covers a variety of responsibilities, at Guilford High School since September, Forcella said.

He began work in September as a substitute para-educator and got the full-time job on a more permanent basis in October.

Forcella said that the school district has a zero-tolerance policy regarding drug use for employees, all of whom are required to sign a form establishing the district as a drug-free workplace.

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