Skip to main content

Report alleges abuse at school while Mpls. superintendent choice was in charge


A new report alleges abuse at a Massachusetts public school during the tenure of former superintendent Sergio Paez – the person chosen this week to be the next leader of Minneapolis Public Schools.

The report by the Disability Law Center in Massachusetts claims there was a pattern of excessive force and psychological abuse against special needs students at the Peck School in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The Disability Law Center began investigating the Peck School following a complaint this spring, Western Mass News says. The investigation found students were being thrown to the floor, slapped, slammed into walls, pulled out of chairs and tackled to the ground, according to the report.

Paez was notified of the Disability Law Center's intent to investigate on April 30, the report notes, which happened to be the same week the state's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education took control of the district for chronically underperforming, the report says.

Paez told The Journal claims made by parents of children in the Peck School program were investigated, saying "there was no finding of any wrongdoing from the administration or the schools." He added he is working with attorneys to make sure the district understands it was taken care of and "we oversaw the process."

Stephen Zrike, the Holyoke Public Schools Receiver, told MassLive he was aware of incidents before the report was published and that the "situation was handled accordingly." Zrike detailed changes that have been made at the school since he took over in a statement on the district's website.

The Disability Law Center's report was released two days after Paez was named Minneapolis Public School's next superintendent, but these allegations never surfaced during the school board's search process, The Journal reports.

Paez's contract with Minneapolis Public Schools still needs to be signed, and two Minneapolis school board members had already planned to visit the Holyoke School District before that happens.

Carla Bates, a member of the Minneapolis board who didn't vote for Paez, told The Journal these allegations make her "sick to her stomach." She told the Star Tribune that "I am just thankful that we are doing our due diligence and doing a site visit."

The school board hasn't responded to requests asking if these allegations will affect Paez's hiring, the Boston Globe says.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

Kirill Kaprizov's slow start is a thing of the past

A potential sophomore slump has been erased with a three-point night against the Devils..

mpd aldi incident screengrab

Video shows MPD officer grab, throw Aldi customer

The department says the matter was referred to the Office of Police Conduct Review.

US Sec Defense Flickr - Joe Bide Nov 11 2021

Biden lays out wintertime plan to curb COVID's spread

It comes as the U.S. reported its second case of the omicron variant.

Willow River DOC

MN Dept. of Corrections offering $5K bonuses as it seeks to hire 200

The DOC is offering hiring bonuses for new employees and for referrals.


3rd federal medical team to join COVID-19 fight in Minnesota

There are more than 1,500 people with COVID-19 admitted to Minnesota hospitals.

hospital, emergency room

Driver killed after other motorist crosses into opposite lane

The head-on crash occurred early Thursday, just north of the Twin Cities.

shot clock

MSHSL approves shot clock for Minnesota varsity basketball

Shot clocks will be required at all varsity games beginning in 2023-24.

Redmons Popcorn Colbert screengrab

Popcorn shop featured on 'The Late Show' has to close 2 days later

A county inspection after the national TV appearance found code violations.