Concord-Carlisle High School administrators responded swiftly to reports of bullying against former student Isabella “Belle” Hankey, according to a letter being sent to the school community today by Superintendent Diana Rigby.
“In spite of what you may read or hear, I can assure you that CCHS responded swiftly to each incident and complaint involving the student,” Rigby wrote in the letter, which was released by a district spokesman. “Student safety remains our highest priority.”
Hankey last week filed a $2 million federal lawsuit against the district, the towns of Concord and Carlisle, Rigby and two other administrators, alleging that she was mercilessly bullied during her junior and senior years, and that the district did nothing to protect her.
Rigby’s letter marks the most extensive remarks the district has made about the suit since it was filed last Monday.
“School administrators and the Concord and Carlisle Police Departments worked very closely with the student and her family to respond to each and every incident and they implemented a series of protective measures to address the student's safety and learning environment,” said Rigby.
Hankey has alleged that the bullying, which she said included death threats and vulgar slurs carved into her car, was not properly investigated by the administration, though police documented each alleged incident.
“Frankly, they have never once instituted any safety plan for the protection of Belle Hankey,” said Hankey’s attorney, Timothy M. Burke. “To have them even suggest that that is what they’ve done is outrageous. The school administrators have failed miserably at their responsibility.”
Rigby said in the letter that anyone with concerns about disruptive or unsafe behaviors should contact their school principal.
“We do not tolerate any bullying behaviors, we promptly investigate all complaints and reports of such behaviors, and we take prompt actions to end unsafe behaviors to restore the targeted student’s personal safety,” Rigby said.
Evan Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.