A male high school student was removed from a school bus by police Thursday afternoon, but the incident on Route 302 involved substance abuse, not a threat of violence, authorities said.

Sanford Prince, superintendent of Regional School Unit 14, said police were called to the scene by the school bus driver after the student had a medical reaction to what Prince described as a vapor pen containing marijuana oil. A vapor pen is easy to hide and can be used to vaporize concentrated marijuana oils instead of nicotine. The practice is becoming more popular among students.

Prince tweeted that the student, who required medical attention, “is doing fine at this time.”

Windham police would not provide details on the incident. But in a week when there was an incident in South Portland and threats of violence at two other Maine schools, Capt. William Andrew stressed that the student was arrested as the result of a totally separate police investigation that he declined to elaborate on.

Christopher Howell, the principal of Windham High School, sent an email to parents further explaining what happened on the bus. He said two students were involved.

Marijuana oil vape pens like this one typically use a USB connection to charge a small battery in the pen that in turn heats the THC oil until it vaporizes. Shutterstock photo

“It was my fear that the absence of information in the media today would lead the community to believe that the issue today was related to weapons or school violence,” Howell wrote in his email, which came one day after 17 people were shot and killed at a high school in Florida. “I want to reassure all of you that this was not the case. The students at risk today put themselves at risk.”

Howell said two students violated the district’s substance abuse policy and one violated state law – the student who was charged.

Howell said his staff has seen a recent increase in the number of students who are seeking to use electronic devices to inhale substances both inside and outside the high school. He said the devices – called vape pens, e-cigarettes or dab pens – can be used to vaporize flavored water, nicotine or concentrations of THC – an active component of marijuana.

“The danger in these devices is that no one knows the long-term health impact that these devices have,” Howell said.

“Please take some time this (school) vacation to have a discussion with your students about the dangers of these devices,” the principal said.

Andrew said that because the student who was charged is a juvenile, police would not release any additional details.

“He is not in police custody,” Andrew added.

The incident happened on Route 302 near its intersection with Anglers Road.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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