Parents March On Superintendent’s Office In Harrington In Protest

Wayne Harvey

Updated 12 months ago

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.

  • Eric Lowell

    Terrible thing! But, it didn’t happen at school, or a school sponsored event. Why does anyone think the school should take action?

    • Local_Gal_fromBangor

      Because one person’s right to attend school ends where another person’s right to personal safety and freedom from further harm begins. The student who was the victim of a crime should not face further harm. An example of further harm would be seeing their own rapist at school daily. Also the other students who are aware of the crime should not be afraid at school. Fear prevents learning and is counterproductive to the school environment. I assume this is why many other parents, and a school board member, are participating in the protest.

      The situation appears to reflect rape culture that allows the crime to go unpunished. Any person who physically assaults, sexually assaults, and severely mistreats another person is subject to social and legal consequences However, I do disagree with the notion that it is up to the school to impose consequences for a crime; the criminal justice system should invoke a restraining order that would prevent the individual who committed the crime from attending the same school (or being “that close” to the victim). At worst. At best, juvenile detention, whereas rape is a mortal crime. Just as it should not be a school’s responsibility to parent a child, it should not be the school’s responsibility to penalize criminal behavior. That being said, where one student would pose a significant perceived or actual threat to safety of at least one other student, and would consequently pose a severe negative impact to the learning environment, the school should act accordingly.

  • Karen Wallace Manning

    Where is DHS on this matter? Seems to me that they should be doing what the school or courts cant do. They should remove the boy until further investigation its thier job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Richard James

    Agreed Eric. Some people want public school’s to be the police. This is ridiculous. If you don’t think your kid is safe, send them to another public school, private school or home-school them.

  • Heather Cogswell

    I know it sucks, but we live in a society where you are innocent until proven guilty. Countless girls go to school every day with a guy that has assaulted them. I am a mom, but I can see it from both sides of the coin. I am not saying it isn’t true, but is it fair for the school to expel a student that has yet to be convicted? If there is a restraining order in place, it is the school’s responsibility to keep them out of the same classrooms, lunches and recess times, however, in high school both students are still entitled to an education. Why then would it be any different in elementary school? There has to be a way to keep them separated, but I have to wonder why children of those ages at a birthday were unsupervised enough at a birthday party for something like that to happen?