Great Salt Bay Community School in Damariscotta has an increased police presence after a middle school student threatened violence against Principal Kim Schaff on Friday, June 3.
The student was immediately removed from the school and both the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the Damariscotta Police Department were notified immediately, AOS 93 Superintendent Craig Jurgensen and Assistant Superintendent Lynsey Johnston said in a letter sent to parents on Monday, June 6.
“The threat did not involve weapons being brought to GSB,” Jurgensen and Johnston said in the letter.
The police determined the threat was credible and the student was arrested, charged, and released under a specific set of conditions, Damariscotta Police Chief Jason Warlick said in a statement included in the Jurgensen and Johnston letter.
School staff receive training from the Maine Department of Education in the evaluation of school-based threats, Jurgensen said by email on Tuesday, June 7.
“The threat was determined to be credible based on information that was shared with (Damariscotta Police Department),” Jurgensen said in the email. “To make the distinction between a credible or transient threat the evaluator considers the content of the threat, the circumstances in which the threat was made and intention.”
“Just due to the current climate involving violence across the country, our agency has taken extra precautions at the school with a larger police presence,” Warlick said in the statement. “This decision was not made due to any specific school threat but rather as a way to help relieve any unrest parents or teachers may be feeling.”
The increased police presence simply involves making sure there is an officer onsite during business hours, Warlick said by phone on Tuesday, June 7. He said the student will be charged with terrorizing, a misdemeanor.
In a letter sent to the GSB community on Sunday, June 5, Schaff wrote that the student will not be permitted on the school grounds for the remainder of the year. She said the verbal threat was made against her to the school’s social worker.
GSB’s last student day for the school year is Wednesday, June 22.
“With this knowledge, I feel more comfortable with the safety of our students and staff,” Schaff said in the letter.
Schaff also said “given the tragic lessons of school violence in this country,” precautions are being taken, including the increased police presence “in addition to many other security measures we have in place: locked doors, surveillance cameras, panic buttons, and emergency plans.”
“Please know if you feel uncomfortable sending your child to school tomorrow or this week, I completely understand,” Schaff said in the letter.
Attendance was down “significantly” at GSB on Monday, June 6 but rebounded the next day, Jurgensen said in an email.