58 out of the 159 students in the Harrington Elementary School were absent today.
But it was not for colds or the flu, it was because of a parent-organized protest.
“I’ve talked to the school, we’ve talked to everybody,” said “Skip Day” protest organizer. “I’ve waited three months, to get something done and nothing’s been done so this has to happen.”
3 months ago Strout heard from her 10 year old son what took place at a birthday party attended by boys. She says what she was told amounts to bullying and the sexual assault of an 8-year-old boy by an 11-year-old boy…
“I asked my son and he was threatened to perform an act and he was, feared for his life,” said Karrie Anderson who at that point filed a restraining order to keep the boys apart. “They simply told me, you know this isn’t going to get him kicked out of school, because that’s what I wanted, I want that kid gone, my kid should not have to be in the same building with the kid who raped him.”
The issue is so divisive in the area, it led to the resignation of a school board member, Lisa Norton. “All because of this. I have a student in the fifth grade at the Harrington Elementary School and I didn’t feel I could appropriately protect him and/or speak out on his behalf, as well as the school itself and be a board member as well.”
Dozens of parents gathered at the Superintendent’s office and marched into the building to find out what can or will be done. But since it didn’t happen at school, or at a school sanctioned event, the hands of Superintendent Ronald Ramsay are tied. “I’m very concerned and I’m willing to work with them to try to come to some sort of resolution but I also have to make sure that I keep all the kids Civil Rights, Constitutional Rights in account, all of them, everybody that goes to my school, I have to keep safe and have to make sure that we abide by all the laws of the land and that is what I’m attempting to do.”
But the parents want a policy to be put in place to be able to deal with this incident, or ones that may be like it in the future.
“There should be some kind of recourse for the school system,” said Anderson. “That when a child has committed a felony there should be some kind of policy that says what we do, especially when the victims are in the school,it’s just mind boggling.”
“You can’t just reach my arms, the school district’s arms into individual homes and apply discipline to things that happened outside the school, that had nothing to do with school,” said Ramsay. “That is my interpretation of the policy and that has been the lawyers’ interpretation on the policy.”
The parents agreed they too are interested in making certain all of the kids involved in this incident are taken care of.
“I want to ensure that all of the kids are kept safe, I want him out of the school so the victims are not made to feel uncomfortable and also I want that kid to get help,” said Strout. “I’ve known him since he was born, I’ve known the whole family forever. He needs help.”
After the meeting some parents said their kids would not be going to school for “as long as it takes”.
The eight year old is no longer a student at Harrington Elementary School, he along with his younger sister now attend a private school.