The Superintendent of the Hermon public schools, Micah Grant, sends his children to a private religious school — Bangor Christian School (BCS) — and at a recent informational meeting held by the school he demanded that the school hire armed guards.
Yet despite leading the Hermon public school system for more than a year, and despite multiple requests from Hermon parents, Grant did not hire an armed School Resource Officer (SRO) for the past school year.
Grant made his demand for armed guards at BCS during an informational meeting on March 29.
Sources told the Maine Wire that Grant caused a disturbance at the meeting to the point where another attendee at the meeting had to intervene in an attempt to calm him down and allow other parents an opportunity to speak.
One source referred to Grant’s conduct at the meeting as a “meltdown.”
Grant did not respond to multiple inquiries.
Jeff Cummings is a resident of Hermon and a longtime member of CrossPoint Church, the church that runs BCS. He has followed developments with the Hermon school system and was at the meeting where Grant caused a fracas.
“He was throwing verbal daggers at our pastor, at the deacons. He basically was tearing apart the whole leadership structure of CrossPoint Ministry,” said Cummings. “He was really rude and interrupting.”
Grant took objection to the organizational structure of BCS generally, but he made specific demands related to the school’s safety and security planning.
“When he stood up and started talking about school safety and such, I was appalled,” said Cummings. “The residents of Hermon have been on that issue for at least three years trying to get an SRO. He was dead against it because he didn’t have the money in his budget.”
At the time Grant was making his demands, BCS already had private security at the school.
But Grant demanded to know whether that security guard carried a firearm, a detail schools typically keep private for security reasons.
“He was saying, ‘Are they armed or are they not armed’,” said Cummings.
“[Grant] kept badgering the pastor several times on that issue and finally the pastor said, ‘no they’re not armed’,” Cummings said.
At that point, Grant exploded, said unarmed security wasn’t good enough, and demanded an armed law enforcement officer be stationed at the school.
Although there is no video of the meeting, another attendee who asked to remain anonymous confirmed Cummings’ account.
As Hermon’s superintendent, Grant has frequently clashed with conservative parental rights advocate Shawn McBreairty at school board meetings.
In more recent Hermon school board meetings, Grant has taken to walking out of the room whenever McBreairty speaks.
But more than one witness to Grant’s behavior at the BCS meeting said he was acting like McBreairty does at Hermon school board meetings.
Grant also disseminated a letter criticizing the BCS school leaders for not involving parents in decision making, for filing lawsuits without parental approval, and for not moving quickly enough to hire armed security for the school.
Other Hermon residents who later heard about Grant’s behavior at the meeting and read the letter he wrote saw his demands as hypocritical considering how he has handled similar requests from parents of children attending the school he runs.
As Hermon Superintendent, Grant has filed lawsuits against McBreairty, has racked up large legal bills with Drummond Woodsum, has sought to limit parental input in curriculum oversight, and has not provided for an armed SRO stationed on campus for the current school year.
For Hermon parents, it looks like Grant wants BCS to respect his rights as a parent and financial stakeholder in a way he has been unable, or unwilling, to do for Hermon parents.
The letter reflects much of the criticism Cummings witnessed at the meeting. Specifically, he criticizes the school for failing to hire armed security in the days following the brutal murder of three adults and three children by a transgender former student at a Christian school in Nashville.
“Given the most recent, tragic news in Nashville, Tennessee, campus security and safety have not been addressed in an adequate and timely manner, but rather reactively at the pressure of parents and staff,” Grant said, in the letter.
“Additionally, the current plan for private security remains unarmed and unvetted,” he said.
The BCS meeting took place just two days after the Nashville shooting.
According to school board records, Grant told the board that he had arranged for a $114,000 contract using federal funds to hire an SRO in conjunction with the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department.
That was in July 2022.
Yet the Hermon schools still have no full-time SRO.
The only security arrangement the school has had this school year is regular check-ins from a Penobscot County Sheriff’s Deputy.
In an April 3 report, Grant said he had finally arranged for an SRO to begin on April 15.
Also in the letter, Grant and Lowe chide school officials for not allowing parents to have more input in decision making.
Under the list of “concerns,” Grant and others involved in writing the letter listed: “No parental voice in decision making… We believe that the primary financial stakeholder(s) should be fairly and equally represented.”
Regina Leonard has a 7th grader in the Hermon schools and has been active for more than two years at school board meetings.
She said Grant’s push for more parental involvement at the private school where he sends his kids is also hypocritical.
“When I read the letter, it looked like something I would have written to him,” Leonard said at a recent school board meeting.
In addition to advocating for an SRO at the schools, Leonard has asked for an opt-out system that would ensure students cannot access age-inappropriate materials, but the school has declined to develop such a system.
“Rules for thee, but not for me, that’s what this is,” she said.
Leonard concluded by asking for Grant’s resignation.
An anonymous parent compiled other school board testimonies from that meeting, along with screenshots of Grant’s letter, and made the following video. Grant can be seen in the video stoically listening to parents.
“For the last two years, we’ve been just asking questions and asking for transparency,” Leonard said in a phone interview.
“It’s been almost a year and we still don’t have an SRO in our school,” she said.
Conflict over the role parents play in determining how public schools operate has been simmering in Hermon for well over a year, with school board meetings often occasioning acrimonious clashes between school employees and parents.
Last year, Hermon Education Association President Erin York, who also teaches third grade in the district, crystallized the conflict between school leaders and parents in comments to the school board that left a lasting mark on parents.
In her remarks, York said parents need to simply trust school officials, and if they don’t, they should send their children elsewhere.
In Maine, where the median income is little more than $30,000 per year, very few residents can afford to send their children to privately run schools. Tuition at BCS, for example, can run as high as $6,200 per year for one student.
York’s comments left such a lasting impression on parents that Cummings even quoted York in an email to Grant criticizing his behavior at the BCS meeting.