Cheshire special ed director arrested, under investigation for - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Cheshire special ed director arrested, under investigation for drugs

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CHESHIRE, Mass. -- For the last five years Kurt Garivaltis was a trusted member of the Adams Cheshire Regional School District, but court papers reveal a very different side to the 45-year-old.

Garivaltis, a special education director who worked with kids and their parents at Cheshire Elementary School, was arrested and is under investigation – accused of using, buying, selling and bartering prescription opiates both at the elementary school and elsewhere in the area.

Authorities say Garivaltis had a Percocet pill on him when he was taken into custody at the school, and many more prescription opiates were found in his car.

Officials with the Berkshire County Drug Task Force first began investigating the special education director back in June of 2012 following a tip.

State police gathered evidence in January that showed Garivaltis was crushing oxycodone in a dollar bill, and then snorting it, according to court papers.

He has denied being dependent, instead calling himself a recreational Percocet user, who began taking the drugs following a snowmobile accident back in 2006, consuming no more than ten pills a week.

After he was arrested, prescription opiates were allegedly found in his wallet, briefcase and car.

The principal of Cheshire elementary school tells NEWS10 he had no idea.

"Shock, sadness, disappointment. I guess a colleague that you're working with -- I had no idea. It's just an allegation, but if it's true I hope he gets the help he needs," said Principal Peter Bachli.

He added that Garivaltis has been placed on leave pending an internal investigation.

"It's important to know that it's something that's not going to be tolerated in our schools," said Bachli.

The district superintendent Kristen Gordon tells NEWS10 she was caught off guard when state police alerted her to the allegations.

"Kurt has been a colleague and he's been a good colleague. He's done a good job in his role as special education director," said Gordon.

While Gordon understands that parents are concerned, she's tried to reassure them.

"There have been no students that have been involved in any of the buying or selling or anything like that," said Gordon.

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