Maine Teen Suspended After Posting Note Warning of Rapist in School Sues the District

Aela Mansmann snapped a picture of the Post-it note she stuck on the mirror of a bathroom at Cape Elizabeth High School that read, "There's a rapist in our school and you know who it is."
Aela Mansmann

The Maine teen suspended for posting a warning in her school about an alleged rapist among them has taken her school district to court.

Aela Mansmann, 15, was accused of “bullying” after posting an image of the Post-it note she stuck on a mirror in a bathroom at Cape Elizabeth High School that read, “There’s a rapist in our school and you know who it is.” 

She and two other students who posted similar notes in the school were suspended. 

Mansmann was stunned by the suspension, she told Inside Edition, noting she never specifically named anyone but believed there to be multiple rapists walking the halls of her school based on stories she heard from friends. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has taken on Mansmann’s case and called on a federal court to end her suspension.

In a motion filed Sunday asking for a temporary restraining order against the district, the ACLU wrote Mansmann has taken a “public stance as an ally for victims and survivors of sexual violence.” 

A hearing is scheduled for Monday. 

Mansmann, who has said school officials did not take sexual assault allegations brought up at a board meeting over the summer seriously, told the AP she plans to continue advocating in the area.

“I think anyone that has experienced any sort of sexual violence or harassment is especially vulnerable when they are going through their healing process, and to have an ally who is willing to advocate for that, I think is crucial and beneficial,” she said. 

Mansmann and the two other students suspended were joined by about three dozen schoolmates on Monday to protest the suspensions. Students at the protest said they had developed a list of demands, including more education around what constitutes sexual assault. 

Cape Elizabeth High School has delayed Mansmann’s suspension until the hearing, WGME-TV reported. It was not immediately clear if the other two students had appealed or served their suspensions.

The school’s principal, Jeffrey Shedd, said in a letter to the community that was obtained by the AP that a male student believed he was the target of the notes and that he felt unsafe at school as a result. 

“The Cape Elizabeth Schools have never disciplined a student for advocating for their peers or their views on cultural, social and political matters,” the school said in an earlier statement. “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.”

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