Student involved in Bangor hoax expelled

Posted Jan. 17, 2009, at 1:03 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A student who admitted to starting a troubling rumor last November that spread quickly and put Bangor High School on temporary alert has been expelled.

Members of the Bangor School Committee voted unanimously in late December to expel the male student, deeming it “necessary for the peace and usefulness of the school,” according to minutes of an executive session.

The student was identified only as Student X.

Superintendent of Schools Betsy Webb did not return a call for comment about the expulsion.

Last Nov. 24, a rumor about a possible shooting at the school started after two male students got into an altercation over a girl, Webb told the Bangor Daily News at the time.

The rumor spread in the course of several hours with the help of cell phone calls, e-mails and text messages.

Bangor police eventually were called to investigate. The rumor was determined to be a hoax, but it took police and school officials more than a day to communicate that fact to students and parents.

“This was one of those cases where something got out there and it was hard to reign back in,” Deputy Police Chief Peter Arno said at the time.

The day after the rumor, all Bangor High students were sent home after school with a letter for their parents explaining the situation. The superintendent also addressed the incident at that week’s school committee meeting.

After the student confessed to starting the rumor of “a school shooting,” Webb made it clear that the student did not make any direct threats. While the board session discussion was not public, the conclusions were.

They indicated that Student X’s actions were “deliberately disobedient and deliberately disorderly,” and “were an infraction of violence.”

Bangor police were working with the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office to see whether criminal charges were necessary.

So far, no charges have been filed.

erussell@bangordailynews.net

990-8167

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