PARIS — A parent whose child was at the center of a restraint and seclusion at Paris Elementary School in November 2022 addressed Maine School Administrative District 17 directors during their Monday night meeting – for the third time in less than a year.

Kelly Adams requested clarification from the board about how concerns raised by citizens during public comment periods of  board meetings are handled.

She had attended the June 20, 2023 meeting to share the trauma she said her daughter experienced when she was dragged by the ankles out of a classroom by the Paris Elementary School’s resource officer during an episode of dysregulation six months earlier.

After reading a story in the March 14 issue of Advertiser Democrat about Guy E. Rowe Elementary School’s SRO Holli Pullen being removed from her duties when she handcuffed a dysregulated student, Adams addressed the board again the following week, pointing out the disparities in the way two restraints by two SROs were handled by the district.

At Rowe the SRO program was suspended, with Pullen being investigated by the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office and barred from returning to the school. The SRO at PES, Michelle Legare, continues to work at both the elementary school as well as Oxford Hills Middle School’s north campus.

At the March 18 board meeting Adams stated that by SAD 17 administrators not holding the SROs to the same standard, a message had been sent that her child’s well being was not valued in the same way as other students in the district. She requested that Pullen, who was cleared by OSCO’s investigation by the Oxford County District Attorney’s Office, be reinstated as Rowe’s SRO.


“I have a question about public participation, and where our concerns go,” Adams stated on Monday. “I came to speak on a couple of occasions, particularly regarding school resource officers – the incident at Rowe and also last year that involved my own daughter at Paris.

“I followed up with an email to the board, and not a single one of you responded. No one even acknowledged they received it. I’m not sure if we’re actually being heard as citizens here when we come to speak to the board.”

Adams continued, reminding the board that during her first public comment she had asked her concerns about special education be included on a future meeting agenda but a year later it has not. She also pointed out that the concerns the district had with Norway’s SRO are the same as her own regarding Paris.

“School resource officers are an important part of our schools,” she said. “They do so much more than maintain safety. Norway values this, it is my understanding they even fund (the position). It is really important we have an SRO back at Rowe.

“The same concerns happened at Paris Elementary with my daughter, and that SRO was just allowed to go on with no consequence. So, why is it that Rowe does not have their SRO?”

Later in the meeting, Norway Director Curtis Cole asked Superintendent Heather Manchester for the status of Rowe’s SRO program, which she had suspended earlier this year.


Maine School Administrative District 17 directors give Superintendent Heather Manchester (left) a round of applause Monday for earning her doctorate in educational leadership. Also pictured left to right: Board Chair Troy Ripley of Paris, Vice-Chair Kitty Winship of Waterford and Directors Peter Wood of Norway and Christie Wessels of Paris. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Manchester said she hopes to meet with Norway’s new town manager in the near future about the program. The town’s most recent administrator, Jeffrey Wilson, recently resigned after he was appointed as a district judge by Governor Janet Mills. Norway’s Police Chief Jeffrey Campbell was named interim town manager until a permanent replacement for Wilson is found.

In other business, Christian Smith of Wipfli Auditors in South Portland presented a summary of his firm’s annual audit of SAD 17’s school board, reporting that his results show its business and financial management are in compliance and in proper order.

Directors approved the second reading of District Policy GBIA Staff Participation in Political Activities, and first readings of Policy ADF School District Commitment to Maine Learning Results and Policy ADA School District Goals and Objectives.

During her administrative update, Manchester said that air quality testing at Agnes Gray Elementary School in West Paris has been completed. Currently, requests for proposal for remediation services are being prepared.

She said the report will be released after SAD 17’s Facilities Director Jason Lampert briefs the school board’s operations committee about findings, scheduled for May 21.

Board Chair Troy Ripley of Paris recognized Manchester for completing her doctorate in educational leadership through the University of Maine Orono.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: