Bullets prompted search of Sullivan school, superintendent says

Posted Jan. 19, 2012, at 5:45 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 19, 2012, at 6:33 p.m.

SULLIVAN, Maine — Several bullets found outside a local school on Wednesday afternoon are what prompted a subsequent 90-minute search of the building, the school superintendent said Thursday.

Suzanne Lukas, superintendent of Regional School Unit 24, indicated Thursday in a press release that a pupil’s mother found the bullets along the front walkway of Mountain View School, which is located on Route 200. The school serves 240 pupils from kindergarten through eighth grade who live in Franklin, Sorrento and Sullivan.

The woman immediately told school officials what she had discovered and, after further searching, a total of nine .22-caliber bullets were found. School officials then called Maine State Police and held pupils in their classrooms from about 1 to 2:30 p.m. while the building was searched for “additional safety concerns,” Lukas indicated. No other items prohibited on school grounds were found during the search, she said.

On Wednesday, Lukas had declined to indicate what prompted the search or what police and school officials were looking for during the lockdown.

“At no time during the day was there evidence that any intruders were in the building or present on school grounds,” Lukas wrote Thursday. “There was no information indicating that a weapon was on site. Nonetheless, with bullets on school grounds we were compelled to search the premises for additional ammunition and the possibility of a weapon.”

School administrators also individually interviewed older students at the school on Wednesday to ask whether they had any information about anyone bringing bullets or other prohibited items to the school or knew of any hazardous activity at the school.

“No student was found to have bullets or other contraband,” Lukas wrote in the release.

According to Lukas, after Wednesday’s search ended, students were allowed to go home at the usual dismissal time of 2:45 p.m. and after-school programs proceeded as normal.

In the release, Lukas thanked Trooper Chris Smith and Sgt. Tim Varney of Maine State Police for providing support to school staff on Wednesday while the building was being searched and pupils were being interviewed.

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