Unwelcome Northlands students asked to leave VUHS building

VERGENNES — Two Northlands Job Corps students entered Vergennes Union High School on Thursday afternoon through a door that had been left ajar, according to Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel, and, in Merkel’s words, approached and made two female VUHS students “uncomfortable.”

Vergennes police issued both Job Corps students no-trespass orders to stay off VUHS property and, according to Merkel, were terminated from the Northlands program later that afternoon.

Merkel said the Northlands students, who had left their Macdonough Drive campus without permission, entered a VUHS classroom and apparently posed as exchange students and hugged one female student there, but did not engage in what he called “lewd and lascivious” or unwanted touching that would have risen to a criminal level.

When the Northlands students left the classroom they ran into the girl again, but did not, according to Merkel and as another media report stated, track her down.

They also encountered another female student and also hugged her and also, Merkel said, “tugged on her shirt” and asked for her phone number.

Again, Merkel said the behavior did not meet criminal harassment standards that would have justified a citation, while because the door had been left ajar a criminal trespassing complaint was not justified.

“There was no lewd and lascivious conduct,” he said. “Was it uncomfortable? Yes. Should they have been in the building? No.”

When the Northlands students confronted the second female VUHS student, Merkel said a male VUHS student then told the female VUHS student not to cooperate with them and told the Northlands students to leave, and they did.

“He was the hero in all this,” Merkel said of the VUHS student.

VUHS Principal Stephanie Taylor did not immediately return a phone call Friday morning.

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