Surveillance video shows Burlington High School principal pull fire alarm

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 6:00 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - WCAX News has obtained surveillance video of the Burlington High School principal pulling the fire alarm at the school.

Debra Beaupre was placed on indefinite paid leave five days after pulling the fire alarm to defuse a student altercation. But the district would not confirm whether the leave was directly tied to the fire alarm incident.

WCAX News filed a public records request for the surveillance video of Beaupre pulling the alarm. It shows her walking over to the alarm with another school employee, she and the employee appear to have a short discussion, and then Beaupre pulls the alarm and walks away.

Though it can’t be seen in the video, Beaupre said she had to pull the alarm to break up a fight between students. In an email Beaupre wrote to BHS families, she said she “decided to evacuate the building to ensure public safety and provide emotional space to students and staff amid a heightened, atypical situation.”

Days later Superintendent Tom Flanagan sent a letter to BHS staff alerting them that Beaupre was going to be placed on leave, but never laid out a specific reason.

This is Beaupre’s first year as BHS principal after she was hired in May. It’s unknown how long she’ll continue to be gone.

The school’s assistant principal has stepped up in her absence.

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