Kirvanna Jones, a mathematics teacher at the Engineering and Science University Magnet School in West Haven — just a 10 minute drive from Yale’s campus — was arrested Wednesday evening for second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.
Jones was taken into custody by the New Haven Special Victims Unit after the New Haven Police Department was notified of alleged “unprofessional conduct” between an ESUMS teacher and student. The investigation, launched last week and led by NHPD Detective Shayna Kendall, pointed NHPD to Jones, who is a New Haven native and has taught at Hartford public schools CREC Museum Academy, Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School, Martin Luther King School and Classical Magnet School during her career.
Though the timeline of the incident is not yet clear, Connecticut news outlet WFSB News reported that Jones was asked to leave ESUMS on paid leave on Feb. 3.
In a written statement, New Haven Public Schools Superintendent Garth Harries ’95 acknowledged the seriousness of the charges and stated that support resources have been sent to the ESUMS community.
“The warrant includes very serious allegations that, if true, break the fundamental trust and professional responsibility carried by every educator,” Harries’ statement said.
Harries said Jones will remain on administrative leave — as required by the law — until the police department gathers all the evidence it needs to determine the facts of the case. He also noted that the investigation is still ongoing and that no assumptions should be made about her guilt.
“The teacher is entitled to a presumption of innocence, a full and fair investigation and due process,” he said.
According to a Wednesday press release from Mayor Toni Harp’s office, the Jones investigation has not yet indicated that additional students or teachers are involved in the case.
The statement also lauded the work of the investigators who have been leading the charge in the case so far.
“The NHPD commends lead investigator Detective Shayna Kendall and the detectives and supervisors of the SVU for their effective pursuit of this investigation,” the press release said. “It also thanks the Board of Education and its staff for its cooperation throughout this investigation.”
For now, NHPS and NHPD will be working together to ascertain the validity of the allegations made against Jones.
“The NHPS investigation will follow that of the police department, gathering the relevant evidence and then determining the next steps,” the release stated.
ESUMS is a New Haven public middle and high school and is one of the highest-performing magnet schools in the city. The school enrolls around 600 students.
Harries said his “primary and immediate concern” is the wellbeing of the students affected by the allegations. He said NHPS has made resources available for the entire ESUMS community, adding that the school will continue to be monitored closely.
According to the ESUMS website, Jones is in her second year of teaching at the school.