Police: Bag of urine not an act of hostility toward Barrington school official

Police chief says bag of urine likely left by utility crews

By Josh Bickford
Posted 11/5/21

Barrington Police believe a bag of urine found on the edge of a school committee member’s property late last week was not placed there in an act of hostility.

According to police, the school …

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Police: Bag of urine not an act of hostility toward Barrington school official

Police chief says bag of urine likely left by utility crews

Posted

Barrington Police believe a bag of urine found on the edge of a school committee member’s property late last week was not placed there in an act of hostility.

According to police, the school committee member called the department at about 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29, after she located a plastic bag containing urine at the edge of her property. The discovery came just a day after the Barrington School Committee voted 3-1 to fire three teachers who refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The committee placed the three teachers on unpaid leave until the end of the year; they have until Jan. 1 to be vaccinated.

Barrington Police Chief Michael Correia said his department carefully investigated the incident and later determined that “more than likely, it wasn’t a deliberate act related to her duties as a member of the school committee.” 

Chief Correia said investigators looked at the circumstances surrounding the incident — he said the bag was found at the edge of the property and not on the doorstep or closer to the home, and there has not been any other acts of hostility reported against school board members. 

He said the timing of last week’s storm also played a factor.

“We believe it could have been a transient worker,” Chief Correia said. 

A powerful nor’easter hit the region late last week, knocking down trees and cutting power to thousands of Barrington residents. Police believe the workers called in to repair power lines and clean up downed trees on Thursday and Friday may have left the bag of urine on the edge of the property.

“The transient workers, they don’t have access to bathrooms,” he said, adding that the crews are not likely to stop work to drive to Dunkin Donuts to use a restroom.

Chief Correia said his department will continue to monitor the situation and the homes of local school committee members. He said school committees across the country have been the targets of hostilities, due to student mask mandates and other issues. 

“When you’re not sure, call the police,” he said.

Barrington Police officers have been attending recent school committee meetings in Barrington. Three officers were at the pre-termination hearing held in late October for three unvaccinated teachers. Two officers were posted at the Nov. 4 school committee meeting. (Both meetings were held at Barrington Middle School.)

“There’s been some anxiety by school committee members,” Chief Correia said. “… It seems like there’s been a polarization of views people are bringing to school committees — critical race theory… It’s led to some disruptions.”

Chief Correia said the state law dictates that it is illegal to disrupt a public meeting. He said that officers at the meetings use their discretion when monitoring the meetings.

“We’ll always give a warning,” he said, adding that if there’s probable cause, the officers will make arrests. 

“Our whole purpose is to make sure the meeting is orderly, that people have an opportunity to testify… and that (individuals) can’t shut down the meeting. 

“We’ll continue to work closely with the school committee and school superintendent, and when appropriate and needed, we’ll have a presence at the meeting.”

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