Massachusetts sixth-grader going to bus stop cited for trespassing

A sixth-grader in Massachusetts was served by police with no-trespass orders after neighbors grew wary of the girl cutting through their properties to get to and from her school bus stop.

The mother of 11-year-old Autumn Blanchard told the Cape Cod Times her daughter received three pink no-trespass notices from the Harwich Police Department on March 2.

Krystal Blanchard said she was unaware neighbors had an issue until the police arrived at her door and asked why she wasn’t informed by the neighbors or school officials, who also knew about the problem.

“I am beyond distressed by this situation,” she told the newspaper. “I can’t imagine why it had to go to this level. Someone should have spoken to me.”

According to the notices, Autumn could be arrested and fined up to $100, imprisoned up to 30 days or both, if she steps onto the properties listed in the no-trespass orders.

Blanchard said she wonders if the fact her family is new to the area and she and her daughter have brightly colored hair may be causing neighbors to discriminate against them. The mother has pink hair and piercings, while her daughter’s hair has multiple colors.

“That’s the only thing I can think of, which I think is ridiculous,” said Blanchard, who contends Autumn is a “nice, polite kid.”

Harwich Police Chief David Guillemette blamed a “breakdown in communication” for the situation in an interview with the newspaper. He said police should have met first with the mother to discuss her daughter’s trespassing.

“I would have preferred it would have been handled with more tact,” Guillemette said.

The 11-year-old girl said the cut-through shortened her walk to and from the bus stop, adding how she “just wanted to get home and be warm inside my house.”

A neighbor told the paper she was previously sued because a girl fell in her yard, and became concerned when she saw Autumn climbing over debris from a fallen tree.