Great Salt Bay Community School has placed two eighth graders on out-of-school suspensions for recent threats, one involving a student bringing knives to the school on Thursday, Sept. 26.
“At no time were the knives used in a threatening manner toward students or staff, however, this does not diminish the seriousness of bringing a weapon to school and making threats,” AOS 93 Superintendent Craig Jurgensen and GSB Principal Kim Schaff said in a letter to parents and guardians Tuesday, Oct. 1.
“On Thursday, we learned that an eighth grade student had made a written threat towards two classmates and a verbal threat of physical harm towards a staff member,” Jurgensen and Schaff said in the letter.
The administrators immediately met with the student’s parent and Damariscotta Police Chief Jason Warlick. “Following our disciplinary policy and guidelines, the student was placed on an out-of-school suspension,” they said.
The following Monday, Sept. 30, they learned of additional threats by the same student and another eighth grader and learned that the second student had brought two knives to the school Sept. 26.
Warlick investigated and discovered that the student “had one knife under her clothing and another in her bag during the school day,” the administrators said in the letter. They placed the second student on an out-of-school suspension as well.
“Providing a safe and secure learning environment is of top priority to the AOS 93 School System and we take these incidents very seriously,” Jurgensen and Schaff said in the letter.
The letter goes on to describe various security measures in place at GSB, listing the most important as “vigilant staff.”
“This was an example of teachers following up on a rumor and nipping a situation like this in the bud,” Jurgensen said.
The letter implores parents to talk to their children about the importance of school safety.
“While peer pressure is great at this age, we want to encourage students to feel comfortable reporting any information they may have that compromises their safety and the safety of others,” the administrators said. “Working together we can maintain an environment where students are free to focus on learning.
“Finally, we want to reassure you that your children are safe. GSB staff are vigilant and well-trained to address school safety concerns. We will always respond quickly and purposefully anytime there is a threat.”
Great Salt Bay Community School, in Damariscotta, serves Bremen, Damariscotta, and Newcastle students in grades K-8.