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Vt. Cop Photographed Class Projects

May 5, 2003

BARRE, Vt. (AP) _ A uniformed police officer persuaded a custodian to open a school in the middle of the night so he could photograph class projects he found objectionable as an American and as a military veteran.

The projects that Barre Town Police Officer John Mott photographed included a poster of President Bush with duct tape over his mouth and a large papier-mache combat boot with the American flag stuffed inside stepping on a doll.

``I wanted everybody else to see what was in that room,″ said Mott, who convinced a custodian to unlock the classroom door last month.

Although he was on duty at the time, Mott maintains he was on a break.

``I’m just taking a stand on what happens in that classroom as a resident and a voter and a taxpayer of this community,″ he said.

Superintendent Dorothy Anderson says she’s concerned that Mott used his uniform to gain access to a locked classroom after hours without supervision.

``I find this behavior, at the very least, in violation of our policy for visitors at the school,″ she wrote in a letter to the police chief. ``I also find it disturbing that a police officer would wear his uniform under such circumstances thereby intimidating our employee into letting him in the building at a very unusual hour.″

Mott has at least temporarily refused orders from Barre Town Police Chief Michael Stevens and Town Manager Carl Rogers to supply school officials with copies of the photographs.

``I’m going to speak to an attorney first,″ he said.

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