DARTMOUTH — The superintendent of Dartmouth Public Schools is praising the staff of the DeMello Elementary School, after police arrested a registered sex offender living in a tent in the woods behind the school.

Superintendent Dr. Bonny Gifford said another staff member informed DeMello principal Catherine Pavao that the tent had gone up Tuesday night.

"We want to make sure everybody knows it's not on our property, but just out of an abundance of caution, (Pavao) did contact the police department, who I understand showed up and discovered two folks living there," Gifford said.

Investigating officers Matthew Correia and Chris Flechsig located the tent and found two men inside. After running checks on the men, police discovered that one of them, James Curry, 31 of Fall River, had an outstanding default warrant for failing to appear for jury duty.

Curry was arrested and the tent was removed by the second occupant. According to the National Sex Offender Database, Curry is a registered sex offender and was convicted of rape in 2005 in Nashville, Tennessee.

There had been some rumors that students had seen the tent in the woods, but Gifford said she didn't know if that was the case.

"If the kids did see something, we would be happy that they had reported it," Gifford said. "If they did, good, they're learning their lesson--see something, say something."

Gifford said there was another incident about a month prior, in which a person was just taking a walk on the school grounds. But with the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, nobody was taking any chances and the police were called.

"It's unfortunate that we have to be this vigilant these days," Gifford said. "I just praise my staff, because they are very vigilant and don't take any chances when it comes to safety for our kids."

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