LEWISTON — A discussion and vote — originally scheduled for July 13 — on whether to reduce the number of police officers in local schools will be held Aug. 31.

The School Committee voted 5-3 Monday night to reschedule the discussion and vote, which was postponed because of building accessibility issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s time for this committee to set a definite date for when we will vote on this,” member Kiernan Majerus-Collins said. “Members who want this voted on have been exceedingly patient.”

Member Ron Potvin agreed, saying the two-month delay was “disgraceful.”

Potvin, a corrections officer at the Androscoggin County Jail, said it was time to act. “There’s nothing we haven’t heard about this in 200 emails. It’s clear that a statement has been made and we need to bring this to a head.”

Majerus-Collins brought the issue to the committee June 22. He followed up with a proposal to reduce from four to three the number of police officers in schools, to prohibit the presence of police at any elementary school and to end the “ineffective and outdated” Drug Abuse Resistance Education program by the start of the 2020-21 school year.


Money budgeted for the fourth officer would be used to hire a restorative justice coordinator at Lewiston High School.

He said then that the issue was a systemic one and not a question of individual officers.

The matter was not on the committee’s agenda for Monday night, but Majerus-Collins made a motion to suspend the rules to vote on scheduling a public meeting.

“This committee owes the city of Lewiston a decision on this issue,” he said. “There have been rallies and petitions on both sides, emails and phone calls. We owe them an opportunity to say their piece in a public forum.”

That forum will be at 5 p.m. next Monday at Connors Elementary School. Because of the state’s social distancing rules, only 50 people will be allowed to attend in person.

Attendance will be first-come, first-served. Others will be allowed to participate remotely.


Chairwoman Megan Parks, one of three who voted against the motion to reschedule the discussion and vote, suggested holding a series of workshops.

“This meeting was suspended because of accessibility issues,” she said. Workshops would “give us the opportunity for everyone to be heard without having an excessive number of people in the building.”

She added, “I feel the implication is that this is being kicked down the road because we don’t want to vote on it, but that is not what is happening.”

Members Bruce Damon and Elgin Physic also voted against the motion to reschedule and the motion to suspend the rules, which passed 5-3.

Parks said she voted against that motion “not because I don’t want to have a conversation. It’s the procedural way it’s being done, suspending the rules, and School Committee members saying (prior to the meeting) they would find a way to force it. I see that as inappropriate.”

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