BLANCHESTER — A former Blanchester High School student’s father spoke before village council Thursday night over concerns he has with both the police department and with Blanchester Local Schools as well as employees of each.
Tom Pollitt, of Pleasant Plain, accused Police Chief Scott Reinbolt and Blanchester Schools Superintendent Dean Lynch of “not doing their job” in regards to an incident involving his daughter (a minor), who attended Blanchester High School, and another student who allegedly assaulted her at school.
According to him, on Sept. 21 his daughter was shoved into the lockers by another student. The alleged assault, resulting in the girl getting a black eye and swelling, was the result of issues going on with several students both in-person and across social media channels in the days leading up to the incident.
Pollitt and his wife expressed concerns to Blanchester High School Assistant Principal Pandy McCarty. They said that, due to an accident last year in which their daughter was struck by a car in Loveland, causing brain damage, they feared the alleged assault would make things worse for their daughter.
This resulted in legal action against the alleged offending student being pursued through Clinton County and a restraining order being filed against the suspect, through Clermont County.
Pollitt alleges that the school didn’t comply with the order. He said he discussed the issue with Superintendent Dean Lynch and Blanchester High school Principal Chris Smith about it.
“They said they don’t have to comply, they can’t comply with it,” said Pollitt.
Lynch called this claim “unsubstantiated” — that they received a restraining order against the student that was put in place on Sept. 26 but expired on Oct. 2.
“We did a number of things to support the restraining order,” said Lynch.
According to Lynch, the student withdrew from the school on Oct. 4.
Lynch also submitted a no trespassing letter to Pollitt for his behavior at the high school on Sept. 21 including disobeying a school official’s (McCarty) request to the point where she felt the need to call police.
Reinbolt told the News Journal Friday, “On or about Sept. 28 I received a copy of a letter sent to Mr. Pollitt by the School Superintendent informing him that due to his angry and disruptive behavior at the high school, he was no longer permitted to be there without permission of the building principal. I briefed officers on this and made inquiries as to the circumstances that led to it. Officers informed me that Mr. Pollitt had been angry, rude and aggressive with school officials.”
Pollitt said he then went to the Blanchester Police Department, where he spoke with an officer who, according to Pollitt, said, “I’m not going to pick her up and drive two-and-half hours and take her because she violated this thing.”
After an alleged second restraining order violation, Pollitt spoke with Reinbolt where the two then had a “rough conversation” according to Pollitt.
This included Reinbolt allegedly telling him that they didn’t have to comply with the order and that if he called the police department again, “They were going to have problems.” He also allegedly said that if Pollitt “didn’t like it” then he should “get a lawyer and sue us.”
Reinbolt told the News Journal Friday, “Mr. Pollitt and/or his wife called the police department repeatedly in the week following the assault. Each of those conversations were not documented, but generally involved the Pollitts making demands for seizure of evidence, immediate arrests of students and school officials without evidence of criminal conduct, and immediate arrest of the perpetrator of the assault. Each call was answered by a patrol officer who attempted to explain the process of criminal investigation, prosecution and how the court system operates. These phone calls were so frequent that it was distracting officers from other duties. According to the officers involved, they could not get the Pollitts to understand that the case was proceeding and appropriate action would be taken at the close of the investigation.”
According to the police report, the BPD forwarded its entire report (more than 20 pages) on the incident to the Clinton County Juvenile Prosecutor on Oct. 2 for “consideration of charges” against the alleged perpetrator of the assault.
Reinbolt said, “Mr. Pollitt told me the officers here were not doing their job and repeated this allegation without ever giving specifics. I finally interrupted him and asked for specifics, and he provided none, but continued alleging that the officers weren’t doing their jobs. I finally asked him to give me one sentence in which he outlined what he was seeking from me. He stated he wanted a restraining order from the Clermont County Courts enforced.”
“I asked what the order provided, and he said it required the alleged perpetrator in his daughter’s case to remain 500 feet away from his daughter. I told him that, since the children attend the same school, it would seem difficult for anyone to enforce such an order. I told him I had not seen the order. He said he brought it to the police station the night before and showed it to an officer, who refused to do anything to enforce it. … I asked him to mail me a copy of the order so I could review it, and he seemed shocked that I would ask such a thing. I explained that we cannot enforce every court order, as some provide for police intervention and others do not …”
Reinbolt added, “I told him that he and his wife needed to stop repeatedly calling the police station day after day as we have other matters that also require our attention. I told him if they didn’t cease the repetitive calls that I would take action to prevent that from occurring further.”
Council member Don Gephart on Thursday night suggested that Pollitt attend the next Blanchester School Board meeting on Monday and bring his concerns to them. The council later met in executive session with Mayor John Carman and Village Solicitor Andrew T. McCoy to discuss the situation.
Carman said the council did not come to a decision and that Pollitt would have to report his complaints to the Mayor’s Office. Carman indicated he felt he should’ve asked Pollitt to stop commenting at Thursday’s meeting as he was making accusations about a city official which was against the public comment guidelines.
Reinbolt told the News Journal Friday he was “disappointed that Village Council last night operated contrary to its own rules regarding complaints about Village employees. The Council has consistently, for the past five years or more, refused to permit complaints about individual employees during open council meetings. They have insisted that the proper channel for such complaints are to the employee’s immediate supervisor, not in an open council session. I’m a bit befuddled as to why that rule was apparently disregarded last night …”