High school shooting hoax prompts investigation

Posted Nov. 25, 2008, at 12:50 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Police and school department officials continue to investigate a hoax that spread quickly through the halls of Bangor High School Monday and early Tuesday.

According to Superintendent Betsy Webb, two male students got into an altercation over a girl, which led to one of the students starting a rumor that something bad was going to happen at the school on Tuesday.

That rumor spread with the help of text messages and e-mails and, “it probably elevated as it went along the trail,” Webb said early Tuesday afternoon.

Police were called to investigate the alleged rumor, and it was quickly dispelled, Deputy Police Chief Peter Arno said.

“Of course we take these things seriously,” he said. “This was one of those cases where something got out there and it was hard to reign back in.”

Webb said several students stayed home from school on Tuesday, apparently concerned that something might happen. Dozens of concerned parents also called both school department and police officials to make sure the school was safe.

So far, no charges have been filed against the student who admitted to starting the rumor. Arno said police are working with the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office to see if charges are necessary. None of the students involved were identified because they are juveniles.

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