April 07, 2020

Concern lingers in Bucksport after expulsion of 2 students

BUCKSPORT – Some students and parents of children attending Bucksport High School are relieved with the expulsion of two 17-year-old boys who created a graphically violent CD depicting a shooting spree at the high school.

But there are still lingering concerns that supporters of the two students might take some action in reaction to the decision.

“It’s not just these boys,” said one mother. “They’re wondering who’s going to step up and do something. My daughter is scared to death to go to school.”

The Bucksport School Committee deliberated several hours in executive session Tuesday night before taking separate votes to expel each student for his role in creating the CD. The committee members deliberated for almost two hours over the fate of the first student and almost three hours on the second student.

Both decisions were unanimous.

The committee members would not discuss their deliberations, but indicated it was a difficult process.

“The hardest thing to do as a school committee is to expel a student,” Chairman Paul Bissonnette said after the meeting, which ended shortly before midnight.

“It’s always a difficult decision,” committee member Judith Belton said. “It can’t be hurried.”

An attorney representing one of the two boys, who are both facing terrorizing charges because of the CD, said she was not surprised by the school committee’s decision.

Lynn Williams said her client, who had been on the honor role at the high school, had accepted responsibility for what he had done.

“He realized he made a mistake,” she said. “We were hoping not for expulsion, but he took responsibility and was willing to accept the board’s decision.”

Residents, some of whom had children in the high school, waited outside for the decision and were relieved by the action the committee took.

Although they were concerned that something be done to help the two expelled students, who they considered “troubled,” the residents supported the decision.

“It was the responsible thing to do,” said one mother whose daughter attends the high school. “I just hope we can all find some way to help these young men and still keep others safe. I don’t think they should be kept in school at the expense of the other students.”

Parents said the lyrics in the song “Shotgun Killing Spree” had created a climate of fear for many students at the high school.

“They’re not talking about how they feel at school, because they don’t think they can,” said one mother. “They’re afraid. They don’t want to go to school under these conditions.”

The initial complaint about the CD was made to the Bucksport Police Department earlier this month by a concerned parent. Police then notified the school, which suspended the boys Oct. 16.

Police also increased their presence inside and outside the school building last week. The school department also has scheduled a school safety meeting for 7 tonight at the high school gym.

The two boys do have some supporters. A number of students have worn T-shirts to school since the boys were suspended, saying “Free Double S,” a reference to the band the boys are in, and many had purchased the CD while the two were selling it at school.

Steven Sprague, 17, a senior at the high school, said he has known the two boys in question since they were small and said they would never do anything like the events described in the song. He argued that students who purchased the CD did not feel threatened by the lyrics and said he asked them to sign a petition to that effect.

“I said if you are not offended or worried by the lyrics, sign here,” he said. “I had 72 people sign it. I don’t know how many people like their music. You would be surprised.”

He said he hoped the petition would help when the students face the criminal charges against them.

Sprague acknowledged that the lyrics were graphic and said he could understand why parents would be upset.

“If I was a parent and had a kid in the school, I would be upset,” he said.

Although the song does not include any specific names, the lyrics start off referring to killing the principal and the vice principal. The song is laced with vulgarities and includes detailed references to shooting teachers and students. It refers to “the Columbine kids” and being “soaked in the blood of my fellow classmates.”

Near the end, the singers threaten to burn the school down with the lyrics:

“F– everything here, I’ll never return; put their bodies in the gym and let the motherf–er burn.”

The expulsions are effective immediately, and the action bars the two teens from the school building and from all high school activities. They can apply for readmission but under state statute must prove to the school committee that the type of behavior that resulted in the expulsion will not reoccur.

Police have charged both students with terrorizing and have referred the case to a juvenile intake worker and the Hancock County District Attorney’s office. Their first court appearance is expected to be in January.

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