School discipline comes to light after arrest
A horrific crime in New Hampshire has cast a harsh light on the North Andover school district where a victim of sexual assault was warned to avoid her attacker and even to stay off of Main Street in front of the high school.
On February 17, 18-year-old Eliezer Tuttle picked up someone he had met at the Mall at Rockingham Park, but rather than going to a restaurant in Salem, New Hampshire, that afternoon, as they had planned, he pinned her down in the back seat of his car where he allegedly forcibly raped her. Then Tuttle took her to a movie theater in Epping, New Hampshire, where he allegedly attacked her again.
Tuttle, who has been held in New Hampshire, was involved in a similar incident with a very different outcome less than a year earlier in North Andover, where he was a high school student and an athlete on the wrestling and track and field teams.
Breanna Edelstein, a reporter at the Eagle-Tribune, got the scoop after the alleged victim in the earlier incident read the news of Tuttle’s arrest in New Hampshire.
The week after the alleged attack, the victim signed an agreement with a school administrator barring her from “any avoidable contact or communication” with Tuttle, instructing her to travel her “normal pattern” to class, and requiring her to report any contact with Tuttle to administrators. Any violation of the so-called safety plan “will result in school discipline,” the agreement said.
Sometime later in the year, the victim began attending Scarlett Knight Academy, which is part of the North Andover public school system and offers evening classes as an alternative to traditional high school. She signed an even more restrictive agreement with an administrator there. This new agreement, signed on December 5, barred the victim from Main Street in front of the high school and from the area of the gymnasium where she was not to travel nor loiter. The new agreement carried the same warning of school discipline.
It’s hard to say how often those types of safety plan agreements are employed. North Andover Superintendent Gregg Gilligan would not answer the Eagle-Tribune’s questions about how the school handled the incident.
In between the two safety plans, the juvenile court, which has secret proceedings to protect the privacy of minors, had apparently reached some type of conclusion because Tuttle had been on probation since November. The case was continued without a finding until Tuttle turns 19, according to an update the victim received from prosecutors.
Although a crime victim will often have many reasons to want to avoid an attacker, courts typically impose restrictions on the perpetrator, not the victim. Indeed, in the North Andover case, the victim obtained restraining orders against the victim that are still active. The school re-assigned Tuttle, who also signed a safety plan, according to a letter from the assistant principal, Brooke Randall, to the victim’s mother, which does not identify Tuttle by name. Tuttle appears to have wrestled for at least part of last season, according to the Eagle-Tribune’s sports pages.
Schools have different responsibilities and greater powers than authorities in other areas of society. Public schools have a duty to maintain order within their halls and classrooms and to educate every eligible student they can. Massachusetts policymakers have in recent years tried to avoid saddling youths with criminal records even when they could be charged with a crime.
Still, it is striking that so soon after the victim-empowering “Time’s Up” and “Me Too” movements, the school administration in North Andover would dictate how one of its students can walk to and from class apparently because of the allegations of violent assault she made against one of her classmates.
What happens when road safety concerns about distracted driving clash with fears about racial profiling by police officers? We’re about to find out as legislation is debated on Beacon Hill. (CommonWealth)
Billerica Rep. Marc Lombardo says he is “100 percent opposed to conversion therapy” but he voted against the House bill attempting to ban the practice on minors because he says it violates the First Amendment. (Lowell Sun)
Gov. Charlie Baker pushes legislation to crack down on marijuana-impaired drivers. (MassLive)
At a Lowell Saint Patrick’s Day roast, Sen. Ed Kennedy joked that he can’t afford commuter rail trips into Boston and Rep. David Nangle quipped that he is “one-sixty-fourth percent certain” that US Sen. Elizabeth Warren will find no wrongdoing if she looks into rigging of college admissions. (Lowell Sun)
Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II ousts the man he narrowly beat for reelection from an unpaid building committee position at B.M.C. Durfee High School. They’re calling it “revenge politics.” (MassLive)
As the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ landing approaches, officials in Provincetown are looking for the right place to put a Wampanoag memorial.The initial spot was met with resistance, with some wanting the tribute to get its own space instead of sharing it with the Pilgrim-themed relief. (Cape Cod Times)
Susan Estrich, who served as campaign manager for Michael Dukakis’s 1988 White House run, explains what young people see in Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. (Boston Herald) Globe columnist Scot Lehigh argues that AOC and fellow freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar may become the best one-two punch helping Donald Trump’s reelection prospects. Marc Thiessen says Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to protect the Democratic Party from its lunatic fringe. (Washington Post)
A rumored future contender for the presidency, Congressman Seth Moulton will soon travel to New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Iowa, crucial early states in the Democrats’ nomination process. (WBUR)
Joseph Kriesberg and Vanessa Calderón-Rosado outline a four-step process for preserving affordable housing and expanding the supply of new units. (CommonWealth)
The college admission bribery scandal is putting an uncomfortable spotlight on college admission counselors who charge hefty fees to help the sons and daughters of well-heeled families gain licit advantage in the competition. (Boston Globe)
After the surprise resignation of Salem High School Principal Jennifer DeStefano parents blasted the city’s school administration for a lack of communication, which Superintendent Margarita Ruiz suggested was a big reason for DeStefano’s departure. (Salem News)
The alternative education program at Weymouth High School will restart this fall after a year-long hiatus to examine and restructure Foundation Academy and other support programs throughout the district. (Patriot Ledger)
Conley Elementary School in Whitman is closed Friday due to a widespread stomach virus, leading officials to conduct a deep cleaning of the building and buses. (Brockton Enterprise)
Phrma’s Leslie Wood takes a whack at Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to rein in pharmaceutical prices, calling it shortsighted and a bad way to determine a drug’s value. (CommonWealth)
The National Labor Relations Board cited Heywood Hospital in Gardner for improperly interfering with nurses who wanted to wear pins showing their support for a ballot question last fall mandating minimum nurse-patient staffing ratios. (Boston Globe)
Ten men who have been civilly committed and ordered into addiction treatment are suing the state, charging that they’re unlawfully being held in prison rather than at a dedicated treatment facility. (Boston Globe)
The Cape Ann Transportation Authority plans to test a ride-hailing bus system in Gloucester and Rockport. (Gloucester Times)
Quincy officials find a 4-year-old letter that suggests the piers that supported the old bridge to Long Island are not capable of supporting a new bridge that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wants to build. (Patriot Ledger)
Reps. Christine Barber, Jonathan Hecht, Maria Robinson, and David Rogers call for electrification of the MBTA bus fleet and say money from a settlement with Volkswagen could speed the process. (CommonWealth)
Boston launched its pilot program setting up a designated pick-up and drop-off spot for all Uber and Lyft trips in an area of the Fenway neighborhood. (Boston Herald)
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission releases the settlement with Steve Wynn that paves the way for the release of the agency’s report on Wynn’s sexual misconduct and who enabled it at the company. (CommonWealth)
CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTSGov. Charlie Baker nominated Barnstable District Court Judge Kathryn Hand to the Appeals Court last week. The Cape Cod Times argues there a lack of transparency in the state’s judicial nominating, vetting, and selection process.
The former owner of now-closed Fall River-based Global Specialty Glass Contractors Inc. has pleaded guilty in federal court to charges that he failed to report and pay to the IRS taxes he had withheld from his company’s employees. (Herald News)