FREEPORT — A Freeport Middle School teacher has an April 17 court date in West Bath District Court after being accused of threatening students on Feb. 7.
David Mason, 58, of Yarmouth, was charged by police with Class D terrorizing on Feb. 14, Police Department Lt. Susan Nourse said Tuesday.
The charge is a Class D crime, punishable by up to a year in jail.
Mason, who teaches seventh-graders, referred questions about the alleged incident to his attorney, John Richardson of Brunswick, who said Mason is eager to clear up allegations against him and return to the classroom.
Regional School Unit 5 Superintendent Shannon Welsh did not identify Mason, but said the district has suspended a male seventh-grade teacher with pay while she and Freeport Middle School Principal Raymond Grogan conduct an investigation into the alleged incident.
Welsh said the teacher was placed on paid leave on Feb. 9 after parents and students complained about an alleged threatening comment.
Richardson on Wednesday said his client’s 30-year-career should not be judged on “exaggerated” claims about the incident.
“He made an unfortunate and regrettable comment that has been blown out of proportion,” Richardson said. “He loves to teach and has great respect for his kids.”
Richardson said he had not seen or reviewed court documents supporting the summons for the terrorizing charge, and added Mason is also eager to explain his side of the story in court, if needed.
Welsh, who emphasized there are only unconfirmed allegations about the teacher’s behavior, said the educator could face a variety of punishments, from reprimand to dismissal, if the investigation results require action by her or the RSU 5 School Board.
Richardson said he understands the need to investigate the allegations against Mason and ensure students and staff are safe at school, but called the incident an example of the excesses of a “politically correct world.”
“We are looking for perfection in an imperfect world,” Richardson said.