A more than 30-year veteran Haverhill police officer was placed on paid leave Friday for allegedly displaying handcuffs and putting minority students in fear over their families’ immigration status.
Patrolman Stephen Iannalfo, assigned as a school resource officer at Albert B. Consentino School, told students at the school last Wednesday they could be deported if they are inside the United States illegally, according to at least one parent’s complaint. State Department of Education figures say nearly half of the school’s 958 students are classified as Hispanic and more than a quarter of students’ first language is not English. Details of the exchange were not made public, but Haverhill Police confirmed Friday that Iannalfo was notified by letter Friday.
“Officer Iannalfo has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation,” said Capt. Robert P. Pistone, police spokesman. State law limits release of certain personnel details and investigatory reports.
According to several teachers who declined to be named, police interviewed Consentino faculty who had overheard the classroom discussion.
Last September, the Commonwealth issued new guidance about the role of school resource officers. A model agreement between schools and police departments suggests one goal should be “To foster a safe and supportive school environment that allows all students to learn and flourish regardless of race, religion, national origin, immigration status, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and socioeconomic status.”
Attempts to reach Iannalfo by telephone were unsuccessful.