September 28, 2020

Bucksport incident discussed at forum

BUCKSPORT – An estimated 100 residents turned out Thursday to air their concerns over the recent incident that resulted in the expulsion this week of two high school students who wrote and distributed a violent and obscenity-laden CD at the school.

Much of the discussion focused on what steps should be taken to ensure that a similar situation does not occur again.

“I think we missed a link somewhere,” said one man. “What are we doing in the future? Are we looking at a health counselor or a resource officer? I feel this probably never should have even happened.”

Although Principal Tom Sullivan noted that the high school has several programs that provide students with opportunities to talk with adults, one woman noted that the school previously had an alcohol abuse counselor who had been able to work with students, but that she had been dismissed.

Superintendent Judy Lucarelli said the position had been eliminated because of budget concerns.

Although the two students involved have been expelled, several parents expressed concern about what was being done to monitor them. One questioned police officers as to whether their homes had been searched for weapons.

Sgt. Sean Geagan of the Bucksport Police Dept. said officers have not searched their homes because they have no grounds at this point to obtain a search warrant.

Two students provided different views on the situation. Since the content of the CDs was revealed, the school has increased security measures, and police have made regular appearances inside the school building.

Miles Bisher, a senior who is the student representative on the school committee, said he feels safe and has felt safe in the school.

“I felt safe before they were suspended and expelled, and I feel safe now,” he said. “From my point of view, the lock down and the increased police are just adding to the state of fear, not only in the school, but in the country.”

Sophomore Tamra Terry, however, said she had been afraid after she heard some of the lyrics of the song.

“I don’t feel as safe as I used to, but it’s starting to get better,” she said. “The police and the lock down help. Hopefully, it will come back entirely.”

Some residents were concerned that students were still listening to the CD, which contained lyrics extremely derogatory and violent toward women.

Administrators said they have been meeting with students in the past week, allowing them to discuss their feelings about the situation, and would look for new ways to increase those lines of communication.

Lucarelli said administrators were already reviewing crisis management plans for these types of situations and said she would investigate the possibilities of implementing some of the suggestions made at the forum, including the resource officer and a substance abuse counselor.

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