Oak Hill schools face bomb threats on 2 consecutive days

Posted April 24, 2013, at 6:31 a.m.
Last modified April 24, 2013, at 11:41 a.m.

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WALES, Maine — A bomb threat cleared Oak Hill High School on Tuesday morning shortly after RSU 4 Superintendent Jim Hodgkin returned from Oak Hill Middle School, fresh from talking to those students about a threat that closed that school Monday.

At 10:30 a.m., Hodgkin was awaiting the arrival of a state police bomb-sniffing dog to walk the building and give it the all clear.

High school students had been bused to the middle school gym in the meantime.

In both cases, the word “bomb” was found written in a girls bathroom, according to Hodgkin.

On Monday, it had been found at 1:30 p.m. on a mirror on the second floor at the middle school.

On Tuesday, it was found around 9 a.m. written on a wall inside a stall at the high school.

“It’s really unfortunate this happens ever, sometimes the timing is even worse,” said Hodgkin. “In light of what happened in Boston last week — yesterday was the one-week anniversary. That’s very unnerving. That anybody would think that it would be funny or cool or anything remotely close to that is very disturbing.”

On Monday, school closed early and students were bused to the high school while a bomb-sniffing dog checked the building. It was deemed clear at 4:45 p.m.

Hodgkin gathered the middle school students in the gym at 7:40 a.m. Tuesday for a talk.

He told them, “It’s unfortunate. Everyone wants to feel safe in school and yesterday one person took it upon themselves to make everyone feel unsafe,” Hodkgin said. “Unfortunately, someone has again done that at the high school.”

The bathrooms at the high school and middle school have cameras outside the doors. Police were reviewing footage and planned to interview students seen coming and going, he said.

Students caught making bomb threats face both criminal charges from police and expulsion from the school board.

The high school also had a bomb threat earlier this month, before school vacation. The word “bomb” on Tuesday was discovered in the same stall on the same wall as that hoax, Hodgkin said. In that first incident, students later reported that the word had been there at least a day, leaving a large window for possible suspects.

“I just got two messages, identical, saying, ‘Whatever we’re doing to discipline these kids is not enough because obviously they don’t take it seriously,’” Hodgkin said. “The reality is we haven’t caught anybody. When they get caught they will be both disciplined in school and they will be disciplined by the law and it will not be a slap on the hand.”

Because of the disruption, the high school canceled its co-curricular awards assembly and ice-cream social on Tuesday and rescheduled them for Wednesday.

 

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