PARIS — Fifteen months after a transportation dispute involving an Oxford Hills School District student led to the arrest of his mother, a terrorizing charge has been dropped.

On April 12, the Oxford County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the charge against Aranka Matolcsy of Paris.

“This was a mother who was tired and understandably upset,” defense attorney Nicholas Worden said in a phone interview April 15. “I think clearer heads prevailed … I’m very happy the district attorney acted appropriately.”

Matolcsy was arrested Jan. 13, 2023, after asking a question of Maine School Administrative District 17 student services staff about a lack of effort to protect her special needs son from a school bully.

“It was a hypothetical question, expressed in the context of incredible frustration and concern over my son’s well-being over a period of weeks,” Matolcsy said in an interview after the ruling.

She said she asked the assistant director of student services if it would take driving her car into a school building to get the district to pay attention to her son’s crisis and help her. District officials called the police and placed Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School on lockdown. She was later taken into custody.


Matolcsy’s troubles began in late 2022 when her son, who is mostly nonverbal, began to panic when the school van came to pick him up in the morning and arrived home in an inconsolable state.

She found a dozen photographs her son had taken with his iPad of another child moving around in the van they were riding in. The images revealed the student was the same one who had bullied and been separated from her son a year earlier.

The two were now sharing rides in a minivan twice a day, with her son once again brought to the brink of violence by another student, his mother said.

“I had no notification this child was in close proximity to my son,” Matolcsy said. “The adults responsible for reporting that my son was being harassed, who witnessed a kid unbuckle himself from his seat and move to my son’s seat, did not do that. The driver of that van posed a serious safety threat for the students, as well as to other drivers on the road.”

Matolcsy reported the situation to the district’s transportation director on Dec. 22, 2022, and showed the pictures to her son’s individualized educational plan team. She had to pull her son from school and drop work to help him recover and rest, she said.

For three weeks she continued to call the transportation department and district administrators, imploring them to find a way to provide her son with safe transportation, she said.


It all came to a head Jan. 13, 2023, when, after weeks of little to no response and loss of her income, Matolcsy confronted district employees.

She was arrested later that day in Dixfield by Maine State Police, as she was working to prepare her rental cabin for weekend visitors. She had already been contacted by the Paris Police Department and had agreed to turn herself in before the end of the day.

Upon receiving discovery material from the court, she said she felt district staff selectively manipulated her words during their phone conversation to express them to law enforcement as an explicit threat instead of a question uttered out of frustration and desperation.

After her arrest, Matolcsy was issued an order not to contact school staff, including those responsible for her son while he was in school.

Two weeks later, an administrator filed a report against her with Child Protective Services, which was quickly closed with an apology from the Department of Health and Human Services investigator.

Afterward, even though she had pulled her son from school, Matolcsy received notification from the district that it had resolved the transportation issue by having a van pick him up at their home in the morning and return him in the afternoon.


Inquiring further, she said she was told that if her son was not transported to school he would receive unexcused absence marks. The transport van only stopped coming to the house when she threatened to call the Paris Police Department to report harassment, she said.

After being arraigned on the terrorism charge, Matolcsy navigated months of hearings. She said that apart from losing her parents at a young age, the arrest and charges are the single worst thing she’s ever experienced.

“This case is over,” Worden said. “Aranka’s story in terms of raising her son and the challenges they’ve had; I think is very compelling to anyone.”

A letter to the editor signed by 15 community members and published March 30, 2023, spoke in support and defense of Matolcsy and pointed to the need for school policies that support families through school-related crisis instead of allowing them to deepen.

“No parent should be criminalized for being pushed into crisis,” Matolcsy said. “I don’t want any parent to go through this … for defending their child’s (legal rights). “This never should have happened, and it could have been mitigated by a conversation I requested to have over and over.

“SAD 17 implements trauma informed practices in its classrooms and procedures, but they need to extend to parents as well,” she said. “In my particular case, I’ve had traumatizing experiences with my son, within this school district.”


Matolcsy is acting on suggestions made by her peers last year: to see MSAD 17 add policies that not only address parental crisis instances, but do it through a measured process, not punitively.

“I am taking steps to file complaints against (district) personnel, as well as under their discrimination and harassment procedure.

“To be pushed into a state of crisis because the school system is not fulfilling their legal obligation to a student should never happen,” she said.

The Oxford County District Attorney’s Office and MSAD 17 both said “no comment” to requests for statements.

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