MILLINOCKET, Maine — Police issued summonses to two juveniles and school officials expelled one for their alleged roles in a Jan. 22 fight at Stearns High School in which a middle school student suffered significant facial injuries.
The Millinocket School Committee’s 5-0 vote to expel the unidentified student Tuesday came a few hours after Police Chief Donald Bolduc announced that summonses had been issued to two juveniles. One juvenile was issued a summons for aggravated assault. The other was summoned for assault, he said.
The juveniles came to the Police Department on Monday to receive the summonses, Bolduc said. He declined to comment on whether police considered charging one of the minors, whom school officials said is 16, as an adult.
“That’s a question for the district attorney’s office,” Bolduc said Tuesday.
The age of the second juvenile was not released. The case has been referred to prosecutors and juvenile authorities. No court date has been set, Bolduc said.
The victim’s mother didn’t know of the expulsion or summonses when contacted Tuesday night.
“I am not surprised,” Erica Dash said, “but I don’t know what happened officially because I was not invited to the [school] meeting.”
Several students were suspended for as many as 10 days in connection with the fight at Stearns, school officials have said. A 13-year-old middle school girl suffered eye damage and a broken nose when a 16-year-old Stearns high school junior kicked her in the face, according to school officials. Middle and high school students attend classes in adjacent buildings at Stearns.
According to school officials and the girl’s mother, the girl was approached by another eighth-grader in a school hallway after the last class of the day. The two girls exchanged punches and were grappling in a classroom when the 16-year-old kicked the victim as the other girl held her bent over.
The school committee’s 5-0 vote came with no discussion of the matter. Afterward, committee Chairman Kevin Gregory referred comment on the matter to Superintendent Kenneth Smith, who said that the expulsion came with no set duration, but rather will include a set of conditions that the student must meet before she can be readmitted to school.
“We are going to develop a readmission plan and have the student see if she can comply with it and then the school administration has to recommend [she] be readmitted, so it can take a long time or not,” Smith said.
Such plans are developed on a case-by-case basis, said Smith.
“I have had kids who had a gun violation, a serious drug violation,” Smith said. “They were out for a minimum of a year, and then I have had boards write it in such a way that it is very hard for a kid to get readmitted.”
“On the other hand, I have had kids go out for a month and be back in a month because it was to make a point,” Smith said. “This is a case where we hope the readmission plan addresses many issues.”
School officials and the victim’s mother have described the fight as an isolated incident and said that the school’s atmosphere is peaceful and the school staff is supportive to students.
The victim still suffers from pain in her left eye and she had surgery on her nose on Jan. 29, her mother said. The girl will have several more appointments with an eye doctor, her mother said.