By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — A Board of Education member is refusing to step down for sharing sexually suggestive photos of young girls on social media eight years ago.
Aaron McCool admitted Thursday the re-posts were his, but said he is a changed man from when he made the posts in 2014.
School board Chairman Jeffrey Litke said police were notified.
Litke and board Vice Chair Marilyn O’Donnell on Wednesday asked McCool to resign after Litke was made aware of the photos on the social media site Tumblr, under the account mccoola1.tumblr.com.
One photo shows a girl tied up by her ankles, legs and wrists with duct tape over her mouth. Another shows a girl with a shirt that reads “Work in Progress, Good to Go” with an arrow pointing down. A third photo shows a girl on a bike with the caption, “Jailbait because the best things in life are illegal.”
“I found these posts to be reprehensible, concerning and alarming, and something that I take extremely seriously,” Litke said. “These posts are not representative of Naugatuck and the values that we stand for.”
McCool said he will not resign from his position on the borough school board.
“In 2014, I re-posted several distasteful and inappropriate pictures on a website called Tumblr,” McCool said in a written statement Thursday. “This was wrong and I am sorry for my past behavior. However, this does not reflect who I am today.”
McCool, a Republican, said Litke, who is running as a Democrat for state representative of the 70th House District, blackmailed him during a school board meeting and told McCool if he didn’t resign immediately, the information would go public.
“In 2022, blackmail by a Board of Education chair, HR generalist for the town of Stratford and someone who is seeking election this year as a state representative is not the leadership Naugatuck needs; nor is it ethical for someone who is running for state office,” McCool stated.
McCool, a frequent antimask protestor during the COVID-19 pandemic, was first elected to the school board last year. He is self-employed and has a daughter entering first grade this fall.
The Diversity Equity and Inclusion Education Committee has issued a letter to borough officials about McCool.
“We are requesting that his access be revoked to all (Naugatuck public school) facilities unequivocally while the investigation is pending,” the letter states. “These accusations are serious and not to be taken lightly. We understand that everyone is entitled to due process and the ability to defend themselves, but in the meantime, he has lost the trust of many parents. He should have zero access to any facility that holds summer school programs.
“Given issues nationwide, parents need to be assured that safety and security are paramount in all Naugatuck public school situations,” the letter adds.
Litke said he’s aware of the concerns of parents and community members in the district, and shares them.
“I urge my fellow community leaders to denounce these posts, and call on Mr. McCool to resign and not distract from the important work that we do to educate our students,” he said.
The school board is working with its legal counsel to determine the next steps, Litke said.