School security concerns surface after Barrington school's sign is vandalized


Parents of students at Barrington's Sowams School have been voicing their concerns with local officials following an incident early Sunday morning, Oct. 20, where a 32-year-old neighbor to Sowams School allegedly smashed the school sign and burned it in his back yard.

Sowams School Principal Jim Callahan sent an e-mail on Thursday afternoon, discussing the situation:

"As you are aware, over the weekend, the Sowams school sign was vandalized. The man who allegedly destroyed the sign lives near the school. Parents have raised questions about this incident and school security.

"School security is a high priority for every school throughout the district.

"The necessary security steps will continue, to ensure that our staff and students are safe. Doors will continue to be locked and visitors entering the building need to sign-in at the office before proceeding to their destination.

"Barrington Police have informed us that there will be an increased presence around all schools. District administrators are consistently evaluating emergency protocols and procedures."

Police arrested Kip Eaton, 32, of 341 Sowams Road (a short walk away from Sowams School), on Sunday, shortly after officers were alerted to the broken sign. They charged the local man with two counts of vandalism-malicious injury to property and one count of receiving stolen goods. Police reportedly found a portion of the broken school sign burning in a fire pit in Mr. Eaton's back yard.


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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.