Maine school suspends girl who alerted fellow students about accused rapist on campus

A student at a Maine high school found herself suspended after she alerted fellow students that an accused rapist was attending classes alongside them.

Aela Mansmann attends Cape Elizabeth High School. She says she initially posted a single sticky note in a girls’ bathroom that said, “There’s a rapist in our school and you know who it is.”

She later posted additional notes because she claims administrators weren’t taking accusations made by several students seriously. Other female students on campus posted similar messages, according to TV station WGME.

Mansmann said she was told her behavior constituted bullying and that she was being suspended for three days as a result. She’s appealing the decision.

Fellow students held a walkout this week to show support for Mansmann.

“I definitely am ashamed to say I go to Cape Elizabeth High School with this being their reaction,” she told WGME.

In a written statement released to TV station WCSH, administrators defended their decision. They also insist there is not a rapist on campus.

“It is important to understand, however, that when a student’s speech bullies another student, we are required by law and by school board policy to investigate and take prompt action, even if that same student has also spoken out on a matter of public concern,” the statement said, in part.

Mansmann’s mother, Shael Norris, told the Portland Press Herald the school’s reaction could have a chilling effect on students who are victimized.

“I think this could prevent any survivors from coming forward,” she said. “They (school officials) want to tell everyone the school is perfect and safe. But no school is completely safe, this is an issue in every community. What we’re trying to do is have the district understand their obligations and train staff to handle the issue.”

*story by Tuscaloosa News