MILO, Maine – A 13-year-old girl will be issued a summons for assault and referred to juvenile authorities after she punched another girl at Penquis Valley High School/Middle School late last week, Police Chief Damien Pickel said Wednesday.
The fight, which occurred early Friday morning in a hallway at the school, resulted in three suspensions, Pickel said.
The 13-year-old “was the one who did the assaulting. She landed the punches and admitted to doing it,” Pickel said of the girl, who will report to the juvenile officer at the district court in Dover-Foxcroft.
The injured student suffered bruises. The suspensions occurred immediately, Pickel said.
The mother of a 12-year-old girl who was punched said a school ed tech was acting unethically when she posted a Facebook message apparently cheering on the alleged assailant and the 17-year-old high school girl who was there when the fight happened.
In the posting on Saturday morning, the ed tech said that the 17-year-old “had your girl’s back,” an apparent reference to the teenager’s being at the fight amongst the seventh-grade girls. The 17-year-old is a cousin to the 13-year-old fight participant, Pickel said.
“It was almost minimizing her position to excuse her behavior. I believe that it should have been grounds for dismissal because she [the ed tech] engaged in supporting violence or harm done to young people,” said Laura Castellano, the 12-year-old girl’s mother.
High school Principal Matt Hackett declined to comment directly on the ed tech’s involvement in the incident, saying it was a confidential personnel issue involving a school employee.
“I feel very comfortable with how Mr. Grant and I handled that incident in the school,” Hackett said of Assistant Principal Micah Grant.
Hackett declined to identify the ed tech. Castellano identified her, but she is not being named because efforts to reach her have been unsuccessful.
The Facebook posting does not appear to violate school employee regulations regarding computer usage. The regulations do not address posting specific content.
According to MSAD 41’s Employee and Computer Use policy, “The school unit reserves the right to monitor all computer and Internet activity by employees. Employees have no expectation of privacy in their use of school computers.”
The Facebook posting occurred at 11:25 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, when school was not in session.
Pickel said he plans to finish the investigation by the end of the week.