Two more complaints have arisen against Gorham Superintendent Heather Perry over her handling of parent Eric Lane’s request to remove posters about gender from a middle school classroom.

In an email to Lane from Perry, Perry wrote that Lane’s complaint was considered “withdrawn” because Lane refused to meet with her.

Lane’s complaint says that she discriminated against him for his religious values and he calls for her dismissal.

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

Perry told Lane last week that under school policy, the first step in addressing his complaint was for them to meet. ”

I am genuinely interested in seeking resolution to your complaint and I am genuinely interested in better understanding your complaint in order to do so,” Perry wrote.

In a series of emails between the two, Lane said he did not want to meet but would answer any questions Perry might have in writing. He also said he “wholly object(s) to the process of finding a resolution with the perpetrator of a crime against me.”


Perry then told him his complaint was “withdrawn” at her level and that he could make an appeal to the School Committee.

After filing their complaints last week, Jim Means and Andrew LaPlaca were advised by School Committee Chairperson Anne Schools that they also needed to meet with Perry before the committee would take up their complaints.

Means is the grandfather of a Gorham student and LaPlaca has children in the district.

Their complaints center on Perry’s handling last month of Lane’s request to remove posters, including one titled “Gender 101,” that define terminology including cisgender, transgender and nonbinary from a sixth-grade classroom. If not removed, he asked that alternative viewpoints also be presented. Lane’s request was ultimately denied.

In an email to staff members on a committee that was to rule on Lane’s request, Perry wrote: “I feel strongly that we need to follow our policies and to be honest that we need to use as many ‘rungs’ in the ladder as possible to slow the process down and to ensure that the parent has to work a little on their end as well.'”

Perry apologized to Lane last week for her “poorly chosen words,” but Lane had already filed his complaint, including that Perry was working to thwart his efforts, that she and the school department had discriminated against him because of his religious beliefs and that Perry should be fired.


Means, in his complaint submitted to the seven School Committee members, also calls for Perry’s dismissal. As a taxpayer and a grandparent, he said, he was “outraged” that Perry, in her email to staff members  “declared her intention to place obstacles in the way of a parent’s lawful request by using as many ‘rungs’ in the ladder as possible to slow the process down.”

Means, a former member of the Board of Trustees of Cheverus High School in Portland, also submitted a second complaint about a book, “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George Matthew Johnson that he said is in the Gorham High School library.

“I find this book to be blatantly pornographic and incestuous, having no place in our schools,” Means wrote.

School Library Journal, however, has called the memoir “a contemporary hallmark of the blossoming genre.  Johnson anchors the text with encouragement and realistic guidance for queer Black youth.”

Schools wrote to Means that the book is already being challenged and a decision is expected to be rendered next month.

Means said the School Committee is responsible for “governing the selection of educational materials” under state law.


“Worse,” he said, it “has not acted on parents’ lawful requests to have these materials removed from Gorham schools. By not acting on these matters, the School Committee has become complicit in the superintendent’s actions and policies and has in fact condoned them.”

LaPlaca, in his complaint, said while the issue does involve him personally it has an impact “on my children and every child in the Gorham School District.”

“I find it offensive to know that the head of our School District wants to use as many rungs as possible to slow the process for a parent to receive information regarding curriculum,” LaPlaca wrote. “Also, the fact that Heather stated she wishes she could ‘opt out’ of dealing with these requests is unacceptable.”

The Gorham School Committee scheduled a special meeting for 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 26, after the American Journal’s print deadline. The agenda includes a public comment segment and two executive sessions. In the first private session, committee members will meet with a lawyer “to consider the legal rights and duties of the School Committee,” according to the agenda. The second session involves a personnel matter.

The meeting will be held in Town Council chambers at the municipal center.

A special School Committee Zoom meeting last week to evaluate the superintendent was canceled.

This story will be updated. 

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