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Police reports show 12 incidents of threats, vandalism targeting Concord-Carlisle teen who filed bullying suit

Posted by Your Town  August 7, 2013 08:16 PM

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Concord and Carlisle Police reports show that the departments documented twelve reports of vandalism and death threats against former Concord-Carlisle High School student Isabella “Belle” Hankey, who filed a lawsuit this week alleging the school did little to prevent bullying during her junior and senior years.

The alleged incidents were reported during a 12-month period that ended in October 2012, according to court documents. Officers spoke with several students and at one point requested an extra patrol on the Hankey residence.

Concord Police Lieutenant Thomas Mulcahy said Wednesday that the investigation by Concord police remains open, but he declined to comment further. Carlisle Police Chief John Fisher declined to comment.

Hankey on Monday filed a $2 million civil rights lawsuit against the towns of Concord and Carlisle, the Concord-Carlisle school district, and three school administrators, alleging that she endured vicious bullying during her junior and senior years, and the district did nothing to prevent it, instead allegedly destroying evidence.

The police documents, filed by Hankey’s attorney Timothy M. Burke as exhibits attached to the lawsuit, show that police examined video footage from businesses near the locations where Hankey’s car was reported to have been keyed, and that several students were questioned about their possible involvement. Ten incidents were reported by Concord police and two by Carlisle police, according to the documents.

Burke said he felt the police handled their end of the investigation perfectly well.
“I have no criticism of them whatsoever,” said Burke. “If I was critical of them, I would have brought them in as a defendant.”

However, he said, the fact that the police investigated the alleged bullying did not absolve the district from their responsibility to investigate, and to protect Hankey while she was in school.

“It’s very easy to divert and deflect attention on the police, and say ‘yeah, we told the police about it,’” said Burke. “It was the school’s responsibility, not the police department’s responsibility, to secure an environment that’s safe for children.”

A spokesperson for the district could not be reached for comment. On Tuesday, the district issued a statement declining to comment on the suit, but insisting it ensures safety for students.

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