State Investigates School Sexual Harassment Matter, While Fed Rules Complicate Haverhill Review

A state investigation is underway into a reported incident of sexual harassment of a sixth grader attending at Caleb Dustin Hunking School, but Haverhill school officials say federal rules temporarily have their hands tied. Attorney Amy McDonald Rogers of Lyons & Rogers told the Haverhill School Committee’s Policy Subcommittee Friday morning the city must adopt the federal government’s newly updated procedures for such incidents. Committee Chairman Gail M. Sullivan and member Toni Sapienza-Donais are drawing up the new policy and will present it to the rest of the School Committee for approval. The matter was unexpectedly and graphically detailed by a mother who addressed the School Committee during a meeting broadcast live by WHAV last Thursday night. “I am here because my daughter advocated for herself and her friends regarding sexual harassment that has not been handled correctly.

Haverhill Schools to Receive National Guard Help This Week to Drive Mini Vans and Mini Buses

Haverhill joins Lawrence and other communities across the state in getting help from the National Guard driving school transport vans in light of a national driver shortage. Six National Guard bus drivers are expected this week to drive minivans and minibuses—not full-size buses, but the assistance frees up to two drivers with Commercial Drivers’ Licenses, Assistant Superintendent Michael Pfifferling notified the School Committee Friday. “This is a very short-term solution and we do not foresee any real relief until (school bus contractor) NRT is able to onboard additional CDL drivers,” Pfifferling wrote. A Saturday meeting between Pfifferling and NRT’s John McCarthy tentatively decided to use a combination of NRT’s minibuses and the school department’s vans to fill in as many gaps as possible. Minibuses accommodate up to 20 students, while vans are limited to six students.

Haverhill Schools Undertake Review After Reports of Sexual Harassment, Fights, Vandalism

A review of school policies is underway after School Committee members last night discussed reports of sexual harassment, vandalism and fighting at Haverhill High School since going back into session

One problem is a challenge that has gone viral on the TikTok social app. Known as “Devious Licks” encourages students to record themselves stealing and destroying school property and posting a video of their acts. As bad as that may be, School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr. said problems go much further. “There’s the Tik Tok videos, the vandalism, the x-rated videos being shot on school grounds, the violence, the fights. I got more calls from parents and staff members in the last three or four weeks than I’ve got in 18 years sitting here,” he said.

Reminders: 10th Annual River Ruckus and Food and Diaper Drive Saturday

See also River Ruckus Returns for 10th Season Saturday with Classic Cars, Bands, Food, Fireworks and More

Here are reminders for two events taking place Saturday. The 10th Annual River Ruckus takes place, beginning at 9 a.m. Haverhill City Councilor Timothy J. Jordan said this year’s events include a classic car show, walking tours focusing on local architecture, discussions on art as well as plenty of music and, beginning at 8 p.m., fireworks. Jordan cautions there will be parking restrictions that day. “The big thing that we want to make sure that the public is aware of is that there will be signage posted, I think starting maybe on Thursday. Have your cars out off of Washington Street before 9 a.m.,” he said.

Local History on Display Free During Final Weekend of Essex National Heritage’s Trails and Sails

Local history is in the air during this final weekend of Essex National Heritage Area’s 20th annual Trails and Sails. This morning, local historian Thomas Spitalere is giving a tour of the historic 1698 Duston Garrison House at 655 Hilldale Ave., Haverhill. It belonged to the family of Haverhill’s own Hannah Duston. This afternoon, Spitalere joins Joe Bella for a stroll through Haverhill’s Civil War history. Their walking tour focuses on some Civil War soldiers and the important battles they fought to preserve the Union.

Mosquitoes in Northeastern Haverhill Test Positive for West Nile Virus; Spraying Begins Tonight

Mosquitoes in northeastern Haverhill have tested positive for West Nile Virus, prompting spraying tonight in an isolated area. There are no known human cases in the city. Northeast Massachusetts Mosquito Control and Wetlands Management District, of which Haverhill and surrounding communities are members, notified the city of the virus in a pool of mosquitoes collected Monday. Spraying takes place along public roads from Main Street to Kenoza Avenue and then onto Amesbury Road, Kenoza and Center Streets, Millvale Road, East Broadway, Old Ferry Road, Lincoln Avenue, Water Street and back to Main Street. The spray travels about 150 feet on either side of the distribution trucks.

Haverhill Expects to Have $37.4 Million Federal COVID-19 Relief Spending Plan Within a Month

Very little of Haverhill’s $37.4 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act money has been allocated, but a full spending plan is expected within the next month. The Haverhill City Council Tuesday asked specifically about $500,000 to be earmarked for local nonprofits to help with youth activities, mental health services and substance abuse. The amount was part of a budget compromise negotiated in June between Council President Melinda E. Barrett and Mayor James J. Fiorentini. Community Development Director Andrew K. Herlihy told the Council distribution of COVID-19 relief money is intentionally slow. He explained the city seeks to proceed methodically this time after the frenzied distribution of CARES Act money last year.

River Ruckus Returns for 10th Season Saturday with Classic Cars, Bands, Food, Fireworks and More

Team Haverhill’s River Ruckus, a day-long festival, returns for its 10th season this Saturday featuring a classic car show, live bands, a Kids Zone, Community Corner, art and history tours, local food, a Beer Garden with a choice of brews and wine and concluding with a fireworks show over the Merrimack River. The event takes place Saturday, Sept. 25, from noon-8:30 p.m., in downtown Haverhill. It kicks off at noon with the classic car show on Washington Street in the heart of the Riverfront Cultural District. Classic cars, muscle cars, hot rods and specialty cars line up on Washington Street for three hours of showing off their rides.