A contract signed more than a decade ago led to unwanted solicitations from businesses supposedly on behalf of Winslow High School and a drug-free campaign, school and police officials said Thursday.

The matter was originally publicized by police as a scam that the public should watch out for, but was later revealed to be a more complex series of strange misunderstandings.

According to an email sent to the community Thursday by Winslow High Principal Chad Bell, a local contractor on behalf of a company — which Winslow Police said was later identified as Delray Beach, Florida-based Scholastic Publishing/NPC — was “soliciting money to produce a folder that would be handed out to students in the fall.”

After reviewing the terms of the contract, Bell requested to immediately suspend the agreement.

A since-deleted Facebook post published Wednesday evening on the Winslow Police Department’s page warned locals of a potential scam related to the matter, but the post was deleted in the early afternoon Thursday after Winslow Police Sgt. Alexander Jones and Bell investigated further. The police department reposted the high school’s post on their page Thursday afternoon clarifying the situation.

“We agree that this is very odd, but when it comes to rising to the level of a crime; it’s not there,” Jones said. “And we’re not anticipating it to be.”

According to police, a woman told a local business she runs drug prevention programs in the Winslow Public Schools and sought sponsorship, according to the town’s police department’s deleted post and an email sent by Bell to Winslow High School community. The businesses found the call suspicious when the caller asked for the check to be made out directly to her. Police, in the Facebook post, said that “charitable donations for the school would never be requested in the form of a personal check.”

“There was some confusion and all the businesses thought it was a scam,” Jones said. “After speaking with the person and getting in touch with the company and the school, it is indeed a valid company.”

According to Bell’s letter, he spoke to the company soliciting money about the issue. A company representative told Bell about a contract signed between 10-15 years ago, which had been agreed to by a previous administrator at the high school.

Reached by phone Thursday, Scholastic Publishing/NPC Manager Louis Victor said the situation “has been taken care of” and said he said he would try to send a new contract.

Bell, however, said the school was not interested.

“If any person is contacted by a company claiming to represent the high school, local businesses are encouraged to reach out to the school to ask clarifying questions,” Bell wrote. “Our business community is always very supportive of our students and programs, and I would hate for anyone to spend money on programs or services that are not immediately beneficial to our students.”


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