October 28, 2021

8th-grade boy suspended for alleged violence

BAR HARBOR — A 13-year-old Bar Harbor boy has been suspended for the remainder of the school year for his alleged involvement in several violent and aggressive actions at the Conners-Emerson School.

School Superintendent Howard Colter said Tuesday that the Bar Harbor School Committee decided Monday to suspend the eighth-grader for actions “considered dangerous to the school, the students and the faculty.” The student, his parent and the family’s attorney had agreed to the details of the suspension, the superintendent said.

According to Colter, the incidents prompting the long-term suspension included kicking a female classmate, verbally harassing the girl, starting a fire on school grounds with flammable glue, and engaging in other inappropriate behavior.

Officer Mike Miller of the Bar Harbor Police Department said the department is conducting an investigation and will be preparing a report on the reported assault to refer to the juvenile intake worker in Hancock County. Other incidents in which the Bar Harbor student allegedly was involved will be mentioned in the report, Miller said Tuesday.

The school board had scheduled an expulsion hearing on the boy’s action for Monday afternoon. Prior to that, the boy’s attorney called for a meeting with Colter and the school’s attorney in which the suspension agreement was forged, thus making the expulsion hearing unnecessary. The school board gave its approval to the agreement on Monday afternoon.

Colter said the draft agreement on the long-term suspension will be reviewed and is expected to be signed soon by all parties. The long-term suspension began this week, although the boy has been on short-term suspension since the end of last month.

Colter described the action as unusual for the school district, precipitated by “an unusual set of circumstances.”

While violent actions or incidents of harassment are not common in the local school, Colter said there is a policy and procedure in place to deal with such matters.

“If parents have a concern that their children are being harassed, or that school is dangerous, they have the opportunity and the right to relay that to the school administration.”

Colter explained that to deal effectively and fairly with complaints, the school needs documentation.

The suspension agreement bars the child from the school grounds and from school activities for the remainder of the school year. Colter said the boy’s parent had agreed to provide a tutor for at-home instruction. If the boy satisfactorily completes the requirements of eighth grade, the school will award him a diploma so that he can begin high school next year.

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