Kings Highway principal, staff members on leave after 'allegations'

WESTPORT — The Kings Highway Elementary School principal and several staff members have been placed on paid administrative leave for at least a few days while the district reviews unspecified allegations, Superintendent Colleen Palmer said in emails to Kings Highway families Monday.

“I am reaching out to share with you that your Principal, Dr. (Mary) Lou DiBella, and several other Kings Highway staff members will not be in the building for at least the next few days,” Palmer wrote in the first email, sent around 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 28. “ ... When I have additional information to share, I will notify the school community promptly,” Palmer added.

After “receiving a number of questions” following the announcement, Palmer sent a second email at 5:26 p.m., saying DiBella and several staff members were “placed on paid administrative leave, without prejudice, while the District reviews allegations regarding recent events.”

Palmer did not provide any additional information on the nature of the allegations or recent events.

“It is our obligation to follow prescribed protocols when we receive such information, even before we have reviewed such allegations,” Palmer said in the second email.

Assistant Principal Tracey Carbone is in charge of the school for now, and school administration has taken steps to minimize disruptions resulting from staff absence, Palmer wrote in the first email.

Palmer was not immediately available for further comment.

“I’m going to leave it at what Superintendent Palmer said,” Board of Education Chair Mark Mathias said when asked for comment on the first email.

Principal Mary Lou DiBella started as head of Kings Highway in 2016 following 11 years as an elementary school principal in Massachusetts.; 203-842-2638; @SophieCVaughan1