NORWAY — Amid anonymous phone, text and email messages to the Advertiser Democrat, tight-lipped officials and social media rumors, it has been at least 10 weeks since the school resource officer assigned to Guy E. Rowe Elementary School in Norway has been allowed to enter the school.

Freedom of Access Act requests for information regarding Norway Officer and SRO Holli Pullen’s removal from the school were filed Feb. 14 with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, Town of Norway and Maine School Administrative District 17. All three organizations confirmed receipt of the request by Feb. 16; as of Feb. 21, no information has been released.

The newspaper received its initial tip via a Jan. 17 voicemail. Subsequent contact with the caller, who wished to remain anonymous, revealed them to be a parent whose child has been involved in a custody dispute.

It had been about five weeks since Pullen of Norway’s police department had been seen at the school; the child felt exposed and vulnerable without her presence to the point of being afraid to go to school.

The caller said they knew of at least one other family similarly affected. They had called Norway Town Manager Jeffrey Wilson, Norway Police Chief Jeffrey Campbell and Maine School Administrative District 17 Superintendent Heather Manchester but was unable to get any answers. Each party referred the parent to the other party, adding to the family’s anxiety.

At the end of January the Advertiser Democrat spoke with the parent again and, learning there had been no change in the situation, called the town of Norway and SAD 17 to follow up.


Manchester declined to comment on SRO Pullen’s status with Rowe. Wilson confirmed that as an employee of NPD, Pullen fills the position of school resource officer and is ready to return to that role immediately when requested.

Through the first two weeks of February the newspaper received three identical messages through email and Facebook Messenger encouraging an investigation into SRO Pullen’s presumed suspension from the school, and became aware of rumors being posted in at least two private Facebook groups.

The newspaper spoke with the original tipster one more time on Feb. 14. Still not wishing to be identified, the parent said they learned that the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office had conducted an investigation of an incident at Rowe involving SRO Pullen. The OSCO’s report was supposed have been released the previous Thursday but the parent had not been able to confirm whether that had happened.

The parent added that they had not had any calls made to SAD 17 returned in more than a month.

There have been no communications from the district to Rowe families about Pullen being removed from her school duties.

Last week, the Advertiser Democrat separately confirmed the same information with two other citizens – Pullen had not been in the building since at least mid-December and there was no communication about her removal, written or otherwise.


One person said that when they asked another community member if they were aware of Pullen’s suspension they were told “she was doing her job.”

During a Feb. 14 phone interview, Wilson said he, with Chief Campbell, had a meeting scheduled at SAD 17’s Central Office Friday. “We are trying to come to a solution,” he said. “Hopefully this will be resolved by the end of the week.”

In a separate phone call last week made to Manchester, she declined to comment on Pullen’s status as Rowe’s school resource officer.

Tuesday morning Wilson informed the Advertiser Democrat that he had canceled his Feb. 16 meeting with Manchester.

“Late Thursday I received an email from the district making it very clearly that SRO Pullen will not be able to return to her duties at Rowe,” he said. “With no solution possible, I canceled the meeting with Superintendent Manchester.

“I have taken a number of calls from parents who are adamant they want the SRO in the school. Unfortunately, we do not have the personnel or budget to provide an alternative, as our police department is already short a full time officer.”


Chief Campbell confirmed his department is unable to staff the position with a different student resource officer.

“We have a trained and certified officer” for the role, he said. “She has an active interest in her role, she has established bonds with the students and she enjoys her interactions in the school, all of which is a strength of the job.”

Added Wilson, “Norway is the only town in Oxford Hills that fully funds a student resource officer in its school. Others are partially paid for by either the school district or through federal grants. We have had an SRO at Rowe since 2015. Our residents have been willing to fund 100% of the cost and we want to continue.”

With the Advertiser Democrat’s Freedom of Access Act request pending release, Norway officials released the following statement about the Rowe School situation: “The incident was investigated by an outside department and as a result have determined that no criminal charges will be filed.”

All SAD 17 schools and offices are closed this week for February vacation.

With no communication from SAD 17 about its removal of Rowe School’s SRO, rumors have begun circulating on social media. Advertiser Democrat


With no communication from SAD 17 about its removal of Rowe School’s SRO, rumors have begun circulating on social media. Advertiser Democrat

A message sent to the Advertiser by three different anonymous emailers regarding Guy E. Rowe Elementary School’s SRO Holli Pullen. Advertiser Democrat

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