DERRY — Pinkerton Academy headmaster Timothy J. Powers released a letter Thursday telling parents that authorities are looking into “deeply disturbing” allegations of sexual assaults by students against students.
“We take allegations such as these extremely seriously, and we will not tolerate behavior that threatens the safety, health, and wellbeing of any member of our school community,” Powers said.
The letter does not elaborate on how many students were victimized or implicated in the allegations, or how many incidents have occurred.
Powers said that school officials were made aware of the allegations on Wednesday and Thursday.
“It has also come to our attention that some of our students may participate in a walkout or some other form of protest in connection with these allegations on Friday, Sept. 13,” Powers said. “We support and encourage all students to use their voices in a peaceful and constructive manner, and we will not discourage or disallow demonstrations or expressions of any kind provided that these events do not interrupt or interfere with our day-to-day operations.”
Powers said in the letter that local law enforcement and the Division of Children, Youth and Families have been notified and the school is cooperating fully with the investigation.
“In addition, Pinkerton is engaging the services of an independent investigator to assist our school in its internal review of these matters,” he said.
A Pinkerton spokesman said Thursday evening the school’s media statement is based on the headmaster’s letter. Derry police did not comment.
The largest high school in the state, Pinkerton Academy has more than 3,000 students. It serves the communities of Auburn, Chester, Derry, Hampstead and Hooksett.
The headmaster urged the school community “to report any inappropriate behavior or to discuss any and all concerns” by contacting an administrator at 437-5200.
“As far as we are able, we will maintain the privacy of anyone who contacts us,” Powers said.
He said any information regarding the allegations can also be reported to School Resource Officer Jeff Dawe during school hours, or to the Derry Police Department at 432-6111.
“We will ensure that any students who request additional support services are connected directly to professional counselors here at Pinkerton,” Powers said.
Union Leader Correspondent Ryan Lessard contributed to this report.