Police interview students at Mount View school

Posted April 15, 2009, at 7:17 p.m.

THORNDIKE, Maine — State police detectives were at the Mount View school complex Tuesday interviewing students as part of an investigation.

Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland confirmed Wednesday that an investigation was under way and that interviews had been conducted. He said no arrests were made and that the investigation was ongoing.

“Beyond that, I can’t get into the details of the investigation,” McCausland said Wednesday.

Superintendent of Schools Joseph Mattos on Wednesday declined to discuss what he knew of the investigation.

Mattos stressed that the students were not the subject of the investigation and that their parents were notified in advance about the interviews. Some parents sat in on the interviews with their children.

“The state police detectives were great,” Mattos said Wednesday. “They did everything in the privacy of the office. They were very professional, and the parents who wanted to be there were present.”

When asked whether the investigation involved a former employee, Mattos declined to answer. He did say that there was a recent resignation for personal reasons and that the person involved had been instructed to keep away from school property. He said staff members were advised to notify the administration in the event the person was observed on the grounds. He said there have been no threats.

“There hasn’t been any threats that I’ve heard, or had e-mailed or through conversation from anybody to anybody,” Mattos said.

Mattos said awareness of the presence of police detectives in the building spread quickly throughout the school community. He said students text-messaged and used cell phones to inform their friends and parents about the situation. Rumors spread of the school being locked down, he said.

“There was no lockdown,” he said. “Lockdown means you don’t come out until we tell you.”

Mattos said the district decided recently to review its security procedures and that the state police and Unity fire chief had been consulted to discuss those matters. He said they discussed lockdown procedures and fire drills. As part of that review teachers were advised that day to lock their classroom doors and place placards displaying the classroom number in the outside-facing window.

“We were just making sure all the procedures were in place,” Mattos said. “If there is ever anything serious, we will keep everyone informed.”

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