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Courts and Crime

ACLU Calls On Federal Court To Stop Cape Elizabeth Student's Suspension

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine is asking the federal court in Portland to block a three-day suspension of a Cape Elizabeth High School student for bullying.

Sophomore Aela Mansmann was suspended after she placed a post-it note in a girl's bathroom that read, "There's a rapist in our school and you know who it is."

ACLU of Maine Executive Director Alison Beyea says Mansmann's intent was not to target one student, but to raise awareness of the dangers of sexual violence in school and motivate the administration to take action.

“I think the real concern in this case is that we have a young woman who had been advocating for a better response in her school to issues of sexual assault, coming forward and raising these issues and, then, actually punished for raising those issues,” says Beyea.

Beyea says the suit was filed after the superintendent refused to delay Mansmann’s suspension. A spokesperson for the Cape Elizabeth school system says its attorneys have advised against commenting on the suit. But in a statement posted last week on the Cape Elizabeth Schools website, Superintendent Donna Wolfrom said that while the Cape Elizabeth School Department takes reports of sexual violence and harassment extremely seriously, it must also respond to reports of bullying.

Updated 4:48 p.m. Oct. 15, 2019