Students are evacuated Thursday morning from Scarborough Middle School after the report of a bomb threat written on a bathroom wall.

Students and staff at Scarborough Middle School were evacuated Thursday morning because of a bomb threat.

Scarborough Police Chief Robby Moulton said Thursday evening that a search of the school, which produced no evidence of a bomb, was prompted by a report that someone had written a bomb threat on a restroom wall.

Many parents and guardians picked up their children outside nearby Wentworth Intermediate School, and other students were sent home on buses, with their parents’ permission, school officials said.

Moulton declined to offer additional details because the incident remains under investigation, but he said an arrest is possible. Classes at the middle school will resume Friday, he said.

Superintendent Julie Kukenburger said a student notified a staff member about the threat, written in one of the restrooms, sometime before 10 a.m. For about an hour, everyone was held in place until the decision was made to evacuate to nearby Wentworth Intermediate School.

Many parents and guardians picked up their children there. Other students were sent home on buses, with their parents’ permission.

Kukenburger declined to specify exactly what the threat was, only to say that it warranted a full search of the school. Scarborough police conducted that sweep beginning at about 11 a.m.

The department said in a news release later in the day that nothing was found and police didn’t believe anyone was in danger. The incident remains under investigation and anyone with information can call 883-6361.

Parents who picked up their children seemed mostly calm but concerned. Some students were crying.

“It’s unsettling,” Elizabeth Danoue said while waiting to pick up her daughter. “I was messaging with her about evacuating and I was a little worried that someone may have made the threat to get kids out of school where a shooter might be waiting. That’s such an awful thing to think.”

School shootings have become more common nationally. Even innocuous threats are investigated fully and punishment for those found responsible can be severe.

“I think if you look around, there are all kinds of unexpected things happening in schools,” Kukenburger said. “As a superintendent, that’s literally what keeps me up at night. For students, it’s all too real to them.”

Thursday was the first time this year that a Scarborough school has been evacuated because of a threat, but there have been dozens elsewhere in Maine, including several shortly after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, in February that reignited a national debate over school safety and gun control.

In Rockland on Tuesday, a threat resulted in a districtwide lockdown and the detention of a man from whom police seized multiple weapons.

Kukenburger said she was impressed with how well Scarborough students and staff followed protocol Thursday, first while holding in place and then while evacuating.

The biggest concern among students as they left school grounds was when they could go back in and get their belongings. In some cases, students couldn’t even retrieve their phones, which made communicating with parents difficult.

During pickup, parents were required to present photo IDs. In cases where students took the bus home, staff made sure parents were aware. Middle school students were offered lunch at the Wentworth cafeteria.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: PPHEricRussell

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