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School says it acted on bullying reports

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 Wednesday 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.”

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Hankey filed a $2 million federal lawsuit last week against the district, the towns of Concord and Carlisle, Rigby, and two other administrators, alleging that Hankey was mercilessly bullied 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 Aug. 5.

“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 alleges the bullying, which she said included death threats, was not properly investigated by the administration, though police documented each alleged episode.

“Frankly, they have never once instituted any safety plan for the protection of Belle Hankey,” said her lawyer, Timothy M. Burke. “To have them even suggest that that is what they’ve done is outrageous.

Anyone with concerns about unsafe behaviors should contact his or her school principal, Rigby said in the letter. “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.”

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com.
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