Editors Note: The article, “Murals Erased, Controversy Erupts” ran in the October 8 issue of the Academic Advocate and in the school newspaper, Latitude 44. The four bus drivers who painted over the life-sized murals on Edward Little High School walls this past summer tell the story, from their perspective, in this follow up.

Auburn School Department bus drivers Deborah Theriault, Mike Daigneault, Terry Grayville and Tad Simpson did not want to have to scrape off the life-sized murals on Edward Little High School walls this past summer. They even protested it, they said.

Over the course of five weeks, the group of four were employed by the City of Auburn to scrape, whitewash and make new the walls of Edward Little. They repainted everything including the bathrooms, walls and areas of the stairwell.

Theriault, one of the painters who is a mother of children attending Auburn schools, said she believed it would have been much easier to go around the paintings. “We were told by head custodian Ray Lemieux that Mr. Miller (the school principal) wanted the murals erased,” said Theriault, “and we just did what we were told to do.”

Painter Mike Daigneault agrees. “We had no say in the process. We were. . . given five weeks to get the job done,” Daigneault admitted. He also said the drivers protested painting over the murals on numerous occasions, but the protests did not seem to faze any of those in charge of the project. Mr. Miller declined to comment any further on the situation.

Theriault says she feels as though the kids who go to Edward Little are “her kids.” She says she loves driving them to soccer matches and football games. “I have kids who go here,” Theriault said, adding, “we would never do anything to purposefully hurt them.”

The drivers say that it would have been much easier to simply go around the paintings. “Mr. Miller said he wanted the walls completely whitewashed,” Daigneault said. Instead of going around the murals, the drivers scraped off the paintings by hand, one by one, and then painted over them. With emotion, Daigneault said, “The 9/11 mural in the new wing was the hardest to scrape off. It was very sad.”

Also at issue is the disappearance of several posters with civil rights messages. Theriault defended the bus drivers regarding where the civil rights posters were put after being taken off the walls to paint. “We put the posters all in one room,” Theriault began. Daigneault added, “I believe it was room 122. Where the paintings ended up from there is in the hands of the maintenance department.”

Whatever the case, the painters hope that the students repaint. The drivers also hope their hard work brightened the school. “We worked hard on these walls,” Daigneault said. “We hope students appreciate them.”


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