Marie Tessier thought a Wednesday morning meeting with her daughter’s teacher at Bangor High School would only run for a few minutes, so she left her dog Molly in her car. But Tessier ended up spending two hours in the building, sitting in complete silence on the floor of a chemistry lab as her daughter and other juniors hid behind lab benches after a social media threat prompted a school lockdown.
“People said they were sorry that I had to experience that,” she said. “But frankly, that’s where a parent would want to be.”
About 15 minutes before the school’s 7:55 a.m. start time, staff instructed all students to head to their first classes of the day, Tessier said. She said the teacher she was meeting with told her there may be a lockdown, which is why Tessier accompanied her 17-year-old daughter, Simone Grossweiler, to her classroom.
In those initial moments of confusion, Tessier saw some students in the hallway with their coats on, lunchboxes in hand, unsure of what was happening.
She overheard a girl ask a teacher if their lives were in danger. It was just one example of the confusion that reigned during a morning that students throughout Bangor spent in lockdown mode, wondering about what violence could unfold before them.
As Tessier witnessed the confusion inside Bangor High School, Cintia Miranda received a text from her daughter, a freshman whom she had dropped off around 7:15 a.m.
“Bomb and shooting threat. I’m in lockdown. I’m scared,” the text read.
Her daughter told her that students were told to hide behind a curtain in the gymnasium. She could see coaches and other teachers hurriedly trying to get all students to their designated first-period classes.
Miranda — who is the agency director and founder of Pulse Marketing Agency, a subsidiary of Bangor Publishing Co. — returned to the high school, and pulled up behind a lone police car. As she was asking the police officer about the situation inside, she saw multiple Maine State Police cruisers pull up behind her. Officers with protective vests and guns ran inside the administration entrance to the high school. At the other entrance, Miranda saw school buses continue to drop off students, who entered the high school.
“Why were the kids allowed to go in while cops with guns were going in at the same time?” she said. “It didn’t make any sense to me.”
Miranda and her husband stood outside the school while their daughter texted them updates. She was sitting in a circle with classmates behind the curtain in the gym, still unclear about the reasons for the lockdown. Miranda texted her to let her know she was safe.
“I’m glad that it seems like I’m safe but something’s still going on,” her daughter responded. “The adults are scared, I am too.”
Meanwhile, Tessier and her daughter heard a schoolwide announcement over the intercom informing students that the school was officially in lockdown. She said she saw students and teachers act calmly and quickly.
Tessier said everyone in her daughter’s chemistry lab took shelter behind the lab benches and moved away from the windows. Someone drew the shades, and the students fell completely silent.
If someone had looked in through the door of the classroom, no one would have been visible, Tessier said.
“It was amazing that they were all completely prepared, not freaking out, and totally cooperative,” Tessier said.