A parent says racism should not be tolerated before two Spruce Mountain High School students are expelled indefinitely

JAY — At a special meeting Monday evening, Oct. 24, the board of directors at Regional School Unit 73 heard from a concerned parent before indefinitely expelling two students at Spruce Mountain High School.

Livermore’s Timothy “Tim” Walton, parent of two prospective high school students, said he and his wife enjoyed the support of Superintendent Scott Albert, SMHS Director TJ Plourde, SMHS Assistant/Physical Director Marc Keller and School Resource Officer Cpl. Joseph Sage.

“My message is simple,” Walton said. “No child of color or religion should be afraid to go to public school in this state or anywhere in the country. Racism at any level or at any age, whether student, teacher, coach or school board member, should not be tolerated.”

Two Livermore Falls teenagers were charged Thursday, October 13, with each drawing a swastika and writing a racial slur in two bathrooms at Spruce Mountain High School. A 15-year-old and a 17-year-old each received a subpoena for criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, Sage said at the time. The students were handed over to their parents.

This incident, the picture that was seen, just doesn’t belong here, Walton said. “These kids learned it somewhere,” he remarked. “That’s the problem with the community.

“Your job is to make sure we don’t have that problem at school,” Walton said. “A 10-day ban is no more than a second. These kids have to go. A message needs to be sent here tonight that this does not belong in school.

“A Jewish student, or a child of color or mixed race, or a high-percentage African American like my daughter shouldn’t have to come to school in fear for her life,” he noted. “When you write on the wall ‘a common racial slur against black people,’ it means only one thing.

“If you think for a second that Uvalde or the shooting in St. Louis today or anything else at this school can’t happen, guess again,” Walton said. “They need a team of school resource officers, a team of administrators, a team of school board members to look into stopping it, and it’s not going to be the doors I just came through that are going to stop them.

“The next day my daughter has to worry about getting into this school, fear for her life because of the color of her skin will be the last day she gets into this school,” Walton said.

Walton appreciated having a unanimous board, which is rare, he said.

A closed session of about an hour was followed by a unanimous vote to “disbar Student A indefinitely for conduct that was willfully fraudulent and disorderly and for the peace and usefulness of the school and to direct the Superintendent to establish a re-entry plan.”

Regarding Student B, Jay’s Director Jodi Cordes abstained, while all other directors voted to expel that student after a second closed session of about an hour and a half. Part of the application for this student was changed to “…for behaviors that…” were changed.

Directors supporting both expulsions were Livermore Falls’ Robin Beck, Lenia Coates and Phoebe Pike; Livermore’s Holly Morris, Tasha Perkins and Andrew Sylvester; and Elaine Fitzgerald, Patrick Milligan, Robert Staples and Chantelle Woodcock from Jay.

Jay principals Joel Pike and Lynn Ouellette were absent, as was Livermore Falls student representative Ava Coates.

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