We are parents from the Presumpscot School Family Council, responding to the Aug. 27 Press Herald editorial (“Our View: To keep kids safe, focus on the real dangers”). We were dismayed by the editorial’s mischaracterization of our community. We’d like to set the record straight.

Three weeks before school started, we discovered accidentally that the Region 1 Adult Community Corrections Office had a new location, abutting our playground. No information was provided to the school, the city or us. We began inquiring at the Department of Corrections, and received inconsistent and inaccurate information. For example, the department initially said that 1,100 probationers used the facility and 100 registered sex offenders received therapy there. Then the department told the Press Herald that it serves “about 200 Portland residents,” with no sex offenders receiving treatment.

We met with the deputy corrections commissioner, who confirmed that the office serves 384 Portland residents on probation. In total, 843 probationers from across southern Maine are required to go there, including violent and sex offenders, with higher-risk offenders visiting more often. Sixty sex offenders receive biweekly therapy there (the department now plans to relocate the therapy program, but not probation check-ins, by October).

Those are the facts that were not in the editorial.

So, who are we at Presumpscot?

We are a vibrant community, Maine’s most diverse school, with a nationally recognized Expeditionary Learning program. We speak as individuals with probation experience, sexual abuse survivors, social workers, immigrant and asylum-seeking families who’ve escaped war and complex trauma and many others.

We’ve addressed this challenging situation thoughtfully and respectfully, and will continue to do so. We invite the Press Herald to do the same, and perhaps report on the central issue here: a dysfunctional planning process that allowed the Department of Corrections to locate this office next to an elementary school without notifying or planning with the city or our community.

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