- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The school resource officer cleared of wrongdoing for his use of force during the arrest of two teenagers could potentially return to the school in Pawtucket where the incident occurred, the city’s public safety director said Wednesday.

State police and Pawtucket police concluded Tuesday that Jared Boudreault acted in keeping with his training when applying what they called a “takedown maneuver.” Their report said no criminal charges were warranted.

Public Safety Director Antonio Pires said Boudreault returning to Tolman High School is “certainly in play.”

“We can’t, or shouldn’t, exclude him from returning,” Pires said. “I think the question ultimately is, if that’s his long-term goal, then we need to take baby steps in that regard.”

Pires said he will ask Boudreault about his career plans and talk to school officials, then make the decision in consultation with the mayor, school officials and Boudreault.

The concerns of school officials and students will be taken into consideration, he said. He hopes to decide by Jan. 1.

Boudreault could not immediately be reached for comment. He currently is assigned to a patrol unit.

Pawtucket police say Boudreault responded when a 14-year-old started yelling in the hallway and punching a wall on Oct. 14. Boudreault attempted to arrest the teen for disorderly conduct, and the teen’s 17-year-old brother jumped in and pushed Boudreault, they said. Then both brothers assaulted the resource officer, leading to the takedown, police said.

A student captured the takedown on video and posted it on YouTube, prompting a protest the next day by about 200 students. Eight youngsters and two adults were arrested at the protest.

“All the evidence documented and substantiated that school resource officer Jared Boudreault was assaulted prior to what was captured on video,” the city said in a statement about the investigation.

Pawtucket’s superintendent, Patti DiCenso, has said she would not recommend that Boudreault return to the school, even if he cleared of wrongdoing. DiCenso could not immediately be reached Wednesday for comment.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island called on schools with resource officers to re-evaluate how they are used following the incident at Tolman High School.

Executive Director Steven Brown said schools cede an enormous amount of control to resource officers. He said Wednesday that the fact that it’s not up to school officials to decide whether Boudreault returns raises significant concerns about who is in charge when police officers patrol schools.

Several groups, including the ACLU and NAACP Providence Branch, filed an open records request Wednesday to obtain the full report into the investigation, saying there’s a clear public interest in both the incident and subsequent probe.

School resource officer jobs are desirable assignments with daytime hours. They are awarded based on seniority. Boudreault, who has served for 13 years, is the most junior school resource officer, Pires said.

Boudreault would likely return to Tolman if he continues as a school resource officer, unless another officer voluntarily accepts a reassignment, Pires added.


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