Parent Eric Lane’s request that these posters be removed from a Gorham Middle School classroom was denied. Contributed / Eric Lane

This story was updated May 18 to include the filing of the formal complaint and the cancellation of the May 18 meeting of the School Committee. 

The father of a Gorham Middle School student on Tuesday called for the firing of Superintendent Heather Perry, saying she and the school department have discriminated against him because of his religious beliefs.

Eric Lane submitted the formal complaint one day after he received an apology from Perry about the “poorly chosen words” she used in an email to staff members about his request to remove from a sixth grade classroom posters regarding gender. He sent the complaint to Perry, School Committee Chairperson Anne Schools and member Phil Gagnon.

“I don’t find the (apology) to be sincere and the timing suggests it was sent in defense of herself,”  Lane, who lives in Standish, told the American Journal.


Lane said he met with Perry last fall to ask that “gender theory promotional and educational material” be removed from a sixth-grade classroom or that opposing viewpoints should be provided. Of primary concern to him were posters defining terminology including cisgender, transgender and nonbinary.

Perry denied Lane’s request April 26, telling him, he said, that she was acting upon a recommendation from a review committee.

An email Perry sent to a group of staff members April 20 was among documents Lane obtained from the school department through a Freedom of Access Act request.


The names of the recipients were redacted.

“The reason I am reaching out,” Perry wrote in the April 20 email, “is because for the first time in many people’s memories, we have a parent who would like to exercise their rights … to request removal of instructional materials from either our curriculum/classrooms or from our library.”

“This particular parent alone is likely to continue these requests for years to come,” she wrote. “We need to use as many rungs in the ladder as possible to slow the process down to ensure this parent has to work a little on their end as well.

Parent Eric Lane addresses reads from notes on his phone at the Gorham School Committee meeting May 11. Robert Lowell / American Journal

In his complaint this week, Lane said that because of their fall meeting, Perry was aware of his religious beliefs.  “During the meeting, which I audio recorded with Heather Perry’s written permission, I stated ‘I believe in Christian values and I take issue with the signs in the classrooms.'” the complaint says.  Her email to staff members, he said, stated her “intention to discriminate” against him and make it more difficult to exercise his legal rights.

Lane told the School Committee last week that the school encourages children to be “woke” activists while forcing him through “unnecessary obstacles to slow me down and make me work for information.”

Perry apologized to Lane Monday and supplied the American Journal with a copy of a letter she sent him.


Perry told Lane the intent of her April 20 email was to ensure that the process outlined in the school department policy about the removal of curriculum materials “was deliberate and intentionally followed so that we are able to gain the investment of all parties in the process to ensure the best possible outcomes for our students.”

“Please accept my apology for my poorly chosen words and know that I remain committed to continue to represent Gorham and its Schools with a high level of passion and integrity,” she wrote to Lane.

Lane dismissed the apology as insincere and remains steadfast that Perry and the school department is working to thwart him, discriminating against him and “my religious values, as they indoctrinate our kids with radical values.”

“Heather Perry remaining in her current role as an administrator, as a leader and as an example for her subordinates signals a glaring endorsement of her actions,” Lane said in his complaint.  “I call for her removal from any position with Gorham Schools.”

Resident Jim Means also has called for Perry’s removal. At the May 11 School Committee meeting he read loud Perry’s April 20 email aloud to the board.

Means, who is active in civic and political affairs, said if Perry wrote that email, her “employment must be immediately terminated.”


“What kind of school are we running, ladies and gentlemen?” Means said.

On Tuesday, Means said he doesn’t buy Perry’s apology to Lane, calling it “invalid,” and that he remains committed to having her fired. He said he had sent copies of the April 20 email to members of the Town Council but had not heard back from any of them.

School Committee Chairperson Anne Schools, contacted by the American Journal, defended Perry.

“While the School Committee does not condone the way the email was written, and understands the seriousness of the concerns raised, the committee recognizes that Superintendent Perry has been a great leader for the last seven years and continues to show her dedication to the students, staff, and community members of our district,” Schools wrote in an email. “The School Committee is taking all appropriate action and remains confident that the process referenced in the email will be followed fairly and equitably.”

The issue arose just days before the School Committee was to consider the evaluation of the superintendent in a closed session at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The School Department announced the meeting Monday and said the private session would be preceded by public comment, available via Zoom. However, on Wednesday, Rhonda Warren, an administrative assistant at the school department, said the meeting had been canceled.

Perry, 48, was named superintendent in 2015 and last month was one of six across the country selected to serve on the executive committee of AASA, the School Superintendents Association.

Last week’s School Committee meeting can be viewed at

This story will be updated.

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