LEWISTON — Superintendent Jake Langlais told the School Committee on Monday night that the vandalism at Longley School over the weekend is estimated to cost roughly $40,000.

He said it was seven juveniles, not five as previously reported, who were responsible for the break-in Saturday night. They ranged in age from 8 to 12 and were all related.

The group pried open a back window far enough to unlock it, and went through any space they could access creating messes, he said. Much of the school on Birch Street was spared because many of the classrooms were locked, a measure implemented after a break-in last year caused more serious damage. The juveniles could be seen on video surveillance trying to open doors that were locked, he said.

They spread paint around the floor in one room, which a custodian cleaned up resulting in minimal damage, Langlais said.

One of the parents of the juveniles noticed they had items they should not have and reached out to police and school officials, Langlais said. One parent suggested their child help clean up the mess or do other work to make up for the offense.

Langlais said he is considering that as an option but did not have the juveniles help clean up the mess.


He said he appreciates holding the children accountable for their actions but he would like to see parents take measures to prevent situations like this from happening in the first place.

“What I can’t get over is how children, ages 8 to 12, after dark, broke into a school and there’s no adult, there’s no supervision, I can’t wrap my head around it,” he said. “And so, my plea again to the community is, supervise your kids.”

Also at the meeting, several people spoke during public comment for and against Maine Inside Out operating in Lewiston Middle School.

At the previous meeting, committee members voted to table discussions about a written agreement with Maine Inside Out that would have allowed them to begin operating in the middle school again. At that time, co-founder Chiara Liberatore said it uses a “theater of the oppressed technique.”

The nonprofit helps student write an original play script based on a social issue affecting students.

Toward the end of the last school year, committee members decided to pause organization operations in the school to investigate claims that Marcel LaGrange had interacted with students as a member of the organization.


LaGrange, 24, is accused of killing a couple in Westbrook last June and has since pleaded not guilty and not criminally responsible because of insanity to the six criminal charges, according to an Aug. 31 Portland Press Herald article.

After school officials investigated the claims that LaGrange had contact with students through the organization, there was no evidence that LaGrange interacted directly with students but he was invited to a play the organization hosted at the middle school outside school hours about a month before he is alleged to have committed murder.

Donna Gallant, who is running for the Ward 7 committee seat, told the committee Monday that though she believes in redemption, providing safety for children is more important than “going along with dangerous inclusivity concepts of the day.”

Tim Gallant, also of Lewiston, said though he is not against the organization itself, he also does not believe it should operate in any Lewiston school.

“We should be focusing on the safety of our kids not on things that look to be socially gender,” he said.

Maine Inside Out co-Executive Director Bruce King spoke about his history of incarceration and how his past impacts his children’s experiences. He acknowledged the concern about safety as the city continues to see ongoing violence.


Maine Inside Out and Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition member Joseph Jackson spoke about retaliation he has faced recently. He has a history of incarceration and is listed on the sex offender registry, he said. With his photo and home address recently circulating on social media stemming from the committee’s conversations about Maine Inside Out, it threatens his safety, he said.

Decision-makers need to listen to what kids are saying, he said.

Jackson implored committee members to figure out what they need to do to help children because many of the incarcerated youth in Maine come from the Lewiston area.

At the beginning of the meeting, committee members held a workshop with guest speaker Saida Abdi, a University of Minnesota professor specializing in multicultural teaching and learning, along with other related research.

She discussed refugee and immigrant experience and trauma, school experiences in refugee camps, along with information about English language learners and special education, and the impact of trauma on education. She talked about how school staff can help address trauma to help children learn.

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