Jennifer Tabakin, Town Manager
334 Main St.
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Great Barrington Police Department
William Walsh Jr., Chief of Police
465 Main St.
Great Barrington, MA 01230
For Immediate Release
Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Great Barrington Police, State Police, and State and County Agencies Conducting Ongoing Investigation at Eagleton School
GREAT BARRINGTON — The Great Barrington Police Department, working with the Massachusetts State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office, today conducted an operation at the Eagleton School, a private facility for boys with cognitive, behavioral, and developmental disabilities.
Today’s events are part of an investigation into allegations of physical and emotional abuse on students by staff at the school that was begun by the Great Barrington Police Department earlier this month and has involved multiple agencies. Detectives went to the Eagleton School today to gather evidence related to the investigation. Police will remain at the school for the immediate future to ensure that the collection of evidence related to the investigation proceeds in a thorough, coordinated, and orderly manner.
While this is an active and ongoing investigation, and there are some aspects that can not be released at this time, Town Manager Jennifer Tabakin and Great Barrington Police Chief William Walsh Jr. wish to reach out to the community and want to state that there is absolutely no public safety danger to the community.
“Great Barrington is home to a number of public and private schools that serve a diverse population of students across a broad spectrum, and we want the community — and the parents at home — to be aware of a police investigation that is ongoing. However, there is no danger and no threats have been made to the safety of anyone,” Chief Walsh said. “More information will be released as soon as it is available.”
Police were accompanied to the school by officials from the state Department of Early Education and Care to work with school staff to minimize disruption to students, ensure their safety and well-being, and communicate with parents.
“I want to thank the community for their patience and understanding as this process unfolds,” Town Manager Tabakin said.
Chief Walsh wishes to recognize Great Barrington Police Officer Jonathan Finnerty for his work as the department’s lead investigator on the case. The Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office, as well as members of the Dalton and Williamstown Police Departments also assisted at the scene.
As stated on its website: “the Eagleton School is a private year-round residential, psycho-educational treatment facility for boys and young men with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Pervasive Development Disorder, Communication and Cognitive Delays, Behavior Disorders, Emotional Disorders, and Learning Disabilities.” It is not part of the Berkshire Hills Regional School District. It is accredited by the Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE) and Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).
The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care can be reached at 617-988-6600.