Old Town High School. Credit: Alex Barber / BDN

The threat that forced Old Town High School to close Thursday was written on a bathroom wall, officials said as students returned to in-person learning Friday morning. 

With an increased police presence, Old Town High School students returned to the building Friday after all classes were canceled and school grounds were closed Thursday due to an alleged threat to student safety that was found inside the school Wednesday, Principal Scott Gordon said in a letter to community members Friday morning. 

When Gordon first announced the school closure Wednesday evening, he described the situation as a “threat” to student and staff safety. But in his Friday morning letter, the principal said the statement discovered inside the first-floor girl’s bathroom could be interpreted differently. 

“On Wednesday afternoon, we discovered a statement written on the first-floor girls’ bathroom wall. The brief statement could have been interpreted in several different ways, but in the interest of keeping everyone safe, we chose to take a very conservative approach and we closed school yesterday,” Gordon said. “Many of you have likely seen the note, as a picture of it did go viral. The note may have been intended to be funny – but, it wasn’t. It caused stress, anxiety, and extra work for some people.”

Despite the alleged threat to student safety, Gordon said the school would not be open Friday if officials did not feel confident that everyone would be safe. 

The investigation into the matter is ongoing, Old Town Police’s Deputy Chief Lee Miller said. 

Officials still don’t have enough information to determine who was responsible for the message, Gordon said.

“While it may have been enjoyable to have yesterday off from school, please keep in mind – that day will be made up at the end of the year – much like a snow day,” he said. “The pause cost us valuable instruction time and it also meant many of you were not playing or practicing the sports or activities that you enjoy each day.”

Also on Wednesday, in Standish, a threat was identified at around 10:30 a.m. at Bonny Eagle High School, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.

School administrators were notified of a photo circulating on social media that showed a wall with a handwritten note that described an act of violence, which also expressed the intent to carry out the act of violence on Sept. 30, Capt. Donald Foss said Wednesday.

The sheriff’s office was not able to determine where the threat originated from and did not believe that it posed a danger to Bonny Eagle High School students or surrounding schools. 

As a result, all schools in SAD 6 — which includes Bonny Eagle High School — were closed Thursday, its superintendent announced. 

Although the threat did not name any specific school or school district, Portland High School officials decided to close the school for the day as well, out of an abundance of caution, to protect students’ safety. 

On Thursday, Old Town Superintendent David Walker told the Bangor Daily News the threats were not connected. 

As police and school officials continue to investigate the threat in Old Town, Gordon urged anyone with information to come forward and stand up to behavior like this.

Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is a reporter covering Old Town, Orono and the surrounding areas. A recent graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he's worked for Vermont Public Radio, The...