SOUTH PORTLAND — A Mahoney Middle School student has been removed from school and is being investigated for allegedly making threats against the school and students.

School officials learned Thursday afternoon that an eighth-grader had been making threats against the school and students, according to notices emailed to the school community over the weekend.

Principal Carrie Stilphen and School Resource Officer Ryan Le subsequently met with and then suspended the student for the duration of the investigation.

“Threats against the school and the school community are taken very seriously,” Stilphen wrote Sunday. “This incident continues to be investigated by both Mahoney administration as well as it being an active police investigation.”

While the exact nature or substance of the threats hasn’t been described, Stilphen emphasized that no weapon or written list of targets had been found.

“At no point in the investigation has it been said that a weapon was in school, or that a student was in possession of a weapon,” Stilphen wrote. “While this student talked about having a list, it was never said to be written out and no one has shared that they have seen a list.”

Superintendent Ken Kunin and police Lt. Frank Clark confirmed Tuesday that the investigation is ongoing.

“While the matter is being investigated, the student will not be in school,” Kunin said. “Once the investigation is complete, we will make a determination about further disciplinary action.”

Stilphen noted that she had heard from several parents who wondered if their children were safe or had been directly threatened. She said she and Le had met with students to gather information and “made direct contact with parents/guardians if and when (a potential threat) was discovered.”

Stilphen assured parents that Mahoney would be “a safe place” when they returned to classes Tuesday. Classes were cancelled Monday because of a snowstorm.

“I understand families’ concerns,” she wrote. “Please know that staff, including our guidance counselor and school social worker, will be available for students to talk with. As a parent myself, I do not take lightly your concerns for your children and the children of others. Thank you for trusting us to take care of them when they are with us.”

A staff meeting was held Tuesday before school started, followed by classroom discussions to address students’ concerns.

In an email on Saturday, Kunin thanked parents and students “who have brought information to our attention so that we can investigate and follow up.”

“Any students who are possibly involved will not be back in school until we are able to investigate and determine that it is safe to do so,” Kunin wrote. “South Portland police will work closely with us to ensure a safe reopening of school on (Tuesday) and will continue to work closely with us as we move through this troubling incident.”

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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