TURNER — Superintendent Cari Medd told the Maine School Administrative District 52 board of directors Thursday that lead testing results from Turner Elementary School, Turner Primary School, Greene Central School and the Adult and Community Education Center in Turner were made available recently.

Turner Elementary School had the highest rate of fixtures that showed lead levels above the state’s threshold of 4 parts per billion — stricter than the federal regulation of 15 parts per billion. Sixty percent of the 83 fixtures tested were at or above the state level, according to results from the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention.

Turner Primary School and Greene Central School returned more promising results, with 13 and five fixtures, respectively, testing at or above the state’s mark.

The Adult and Community Education Center showed none.

“A lot of those are sinks that mostly people aren’t drinking from, but there were a number of fountains,” Medd said.

Eighteen of the 68 water fixtures that tested at or above 4 parts per billion are water fountains, most of which are at Turner Elementary School.


The sinks have been signed to note that they are for handwashing only, and the fountains have been shut down, Medd said.

Results from testing at Leeds Central School, Tripp Middle School and Leavitt Area High School have yet to be released by the state.

The district expects to conduct a second round of water testing for sinks and fountains that tested above the state threshold.

“(We’re) in much more need of guidance from the state about next steps,” Medd said, “because I don’t think anybody anticipated what the need would be and the cost of (fixing) those things.”

Due to a 2019 law passed by the Maine Legislature, all schools within the state are required to test all water fixtures for lead. Federal grants are funding the testing program; however, school districts are responsible for the cost of remediating water fixtures with lead levels above the state threshold.

Lead is a toxin that can impair the development of young children, especially those younger than 6, according to the Maine CDC.


Children are most commonly exposed through old paint dust, which is “almost always the cause of lead poisoning,” according to information from the state. There is no safe threshold for lead exposure.

In water, lead often originates from solder or from brass plumbing hardware.

Thus far, about 27% of the 16,000 fixtures tested have shown lead levels at or above 4 parts per billion across the state.


Three parents shared concerns about library materials during public comment, each of whom have spoken on the topic at meetings previously.

Christine Duplissis of Leeds read an excerpt from “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” which described oral sex between two teenage boys.


Vice Chairperson Jessaka Nichols, who was the acting chair of the meeting in Chairperson Elizabeth Bullard’s absence, asked Duplissis to stop several times. When Duplissis continued to read the excerpt, Nichols ended the meeting without a vote to adjourn.

“We have come to this before and we’ve talked about it, and our policy is we’re going to follow our school board adopted policy” on challenging education materials, Nichols told Greene director Anthony Shostak, who spoke in support of allowing Duplissis to continue.

Previously, the board directed Duplissis to submit a form if she wished for the district to review specific library books. Duplissis told Nichols she was deterred by administrators from filing an official complaint.

“It was suggested that I would have to purchase these books and read them front to back in order to file an actual complaint,” Duplissis said. “I’m not doing that. I’m not reading those books. I’m not buying them.”

In an email, Medd wrote that policing of the selection of reading materials requires the committee formed to review challenged materials, not the person submitting the form, read the entire book before making a decision.

“In the spirit of this policy, those who wish to challenge a book are encouraged to read it,” Medd wrote.


As of Sunday, administrators have not received any formal complaints on library materials, Medd said.

During the interlude, Medd said directors sat in the library and “counseled the board that having a discussion regarding the public comment could likely constitute a meeting.”

The meeting resumed five minutes after the livestream went dark.

“Even though we are constrained by our policies for not discussing things without a motion on the table, I think it’s really important not to assume that a complaint is an attack, and that a complaint, I think, can be seen as an attempt to make things better,” Shostak said an hour later, during his reflection on a recent conference for school board members held by the Maine School of Management.

“If there is a way to invite Ms. Duplissis back to offer her comments, that may be a good idea,” he said.



Medd also shared that teams consisting of teachers and the principal of each MSAD 52 school will participate in the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines training offered by the Maine Department of Education School Safety Center.

The training provides educators with skills to respond to student threats by intervening and preventing violence.

“We think the training that will allow teams within each building to sort of respond to those threats in a problem-solving manner, with the hope that we can solve the problem that led to the threat and be an essential part of our safety training,” Medd said.

Medd also asked that a deputy from the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office participate in the training “so he can be a resource.”

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