One Lincoln County school canceled classes in response to widespread concern regarding an apparent trend on the social media app TikTok encouraging users to call in various threats to schools.
The Wiscasset School Department administration canceled classes for both Wiscasset Elementary School and Wiscasset Middle High School on Friday, Dec. 17 to prevent “inaccurate information” from deterring student attendance, according to a letter sent to the community by Superintendent Terry Wood on Thursday evening, Dec. 16.
“Since inaccurate information has been shared on Facebook and several families are feeling that there is still a risk for their children, I have decided to cancel school tomorrow,” Wood said.
Prior to announcing the cancellation, Wood released a letter on Thursday afternoon informing the community that the administration had been made aware of threatening remarks made towards the Wiscasset Middle High School community and that the administration addressed the situation in collaboration with local law enforcement.
Students were still able to attend classes at Bath Regional Career and Technical Center on Dec. 17, but had to provide their own transportation.
The Maine Department of Public Safety reported that there have been no credible threats to any school in Maine, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Various principals and school leaders across Lincoln County have issued communications informing students, parents, and staff that they are monitoring the trend with law enforcement, but only Wiscasset has cancelled school.
Lincoln Academy Head of School Jeffrey S. Burroughs said that the school had not received threats of any kind and will proceed with classes as scheduled.
“We take all threats extremely seriously and are in ongoing communication with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. Together we will monitor this situation and respond accordingly,” Burroughs said.
In his own letter to the RSU 12 School District, which includes Whitefield and Somerville elementary schools, Superintendent Howard Tuttle said that the administration will be in contact with law enforcement throughout the day and may request a law enforcement presence around the district’s schools.
“We prioritize the safety of our schools and we will continue to closely monitor this situation. As always, please notify our schools or the police if you notice anything out of the ordinary,” Tuttle said.
Great Salt Bay Community School Principal Kim Schaff said that the school’s administration had communicated with the Damariscotta Police Department and the sheriff’s office. While there have been no credible threats related to the trend locally or nationally, the Damariscotta Police Department will maintain a law enforcement presence on campus on Dec. 17.
“Social media is a powerful tool often used to influence others, and not always for the good. It is always important to remain vigilant when it involves these types of threats. If your child is active on social media, please take time to talk to your child about the influence of social media and the potential consequences of engaging in this type of behavior,” Schaff said.