Society

Police Give Sixth-Grader Ticket For Trespassing

| by David Bonner

A sixth-grader from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, was issued a no-trespassing ticket by local police.

Autumn Blanchard, 11, received the citation on March 2 from the Harwich Police Department for cutting through a neighbor's yard on the way to the bus stop, reports the Cape Cod Times.

"I am beyond distressed by this situation," said Krystal Blanchard, Autumn's mother. "I can't imagine why it had to go to this level. Someone should have spoken to me."

Autumn had been warned by school officials not to take the shortcut after neighbors filed a complained with the school.

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But Blanchard, who had been asking the school to provide a bus stop closer to the family's house, was unaware of the complaint until police issued the ticket.

"I found out about it when the police showed up at my door with a no-trespass order," she said. "It's making it a hostile environment for my child to go to school."

According to the notices, Autumn can be arrested and fined up to $100, imprisoned for up to 30 days, or both, if she trespasses again.

A neighbor's mother, Patricia Taylor, who filed the complaint, explained that she didn't want Autumn cutting through her yard for fear she might get hurt. In a previous incident, another girl broke her leg on her property.

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"I was sued because she had fallen in my yard," she said.

She complained about Autumn when she spotted her climbing over debris from a fallen tree in her backyard.

But Blanchard insists the matter could have been handled without getting the law involved.

"I'm her mother," she said. "If I'd had a chance to speak to her it wouldn't have got to this level."

Scott Carpenter, superintendent of the Monomoy Regional Schools, agreed in a statement on March 24. "The mother ideally should have been contacted," he said.

"It was just a breakdown in communication that occurred," Harwich Police Chief David Guillemette said. He said police should have met with Blanchard first to explain the consequences of her daughter's trespassing. "I would have preferred it would have been handled with more tact."

In retrospect, Autumn's mother speculated that her daughter's purple hair and her own pink hair and piercings might have had something to do with the matter.

"That's the only thing I can think of, which I think is ridiculous," she said, reports New York Daily News.

Blanchard did ultimately succeed in getting Autumn a bus stop closer to home.

Sources: Cap Cod Times, New York Daily News / Photo Credit: Merrily Cassidy/Cape Cod Times

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