BANGOR – A Bangor teen is facing charges after an anonymous social media threat triggered lockdowns at local schools Wednesday morning.
Bangor police arrested a 13-year-old student Wednesday afternoon, charging the student with terrorizing in connection with social media threats targeting other Bangor students. Police were alerted to the threats by students.
Those threats forced Bangor schools to go into what the school superintendent referred to as a “soft lockdown,” meaning the schools were locked but parents were allowed to pick up their children.
Initially, Orono police locked down the schools in their town believing a social media threat targeted their schools.
“It was just before eight o’clock that we received a radio call saying that there was an active shooter at the high school. Plenty of us were right here, so we were able to get on the scene in probably less than a minute,” Orono Police Chief Josh Ewing said.
Instead, they discovered, the threat was aimed at Bangor schools.
“Likely there was a miscommunication from a different threat that somehow led someone to believe that it was in Orono at the time,” Ewing said.
Parents of students in the Bangor school system received an automated voice mail from Superintendent Betsy Webb telling them schools would be on lockdown status.
“Well, earlier this morning we received a threat towards some of our Bangor schools,” Bangor police Sgt. Wade Betters said.
When students and teachers arrived, there was a police presence at every school in Bangor — elementary, middle, high school.
“I can’t get into the nature of the threat but we began investigating immediately. Our moves that we made this morning were really just precautionary to remind everyone that we’re here and we’re on top of it,” Betters said.
Upon getting the voicemail from the school system, many parents had the same reaction.
“I tell you, nervousness. You know, freaking out a little bit. But I want to tell you something about Doughty School. This is one of the best schools in this city. And I know that my daughter was safe,” said Anthony Leonard, whose daughter attends James F. Doughty School.
As the danger evaporated, parents told us they were given the option of picking their children up or letting them stay at school.
Bangor police detective Sgt. Brent Beaulieu said the threats were posted by someone using a fake social media account. He said police tracked the person allegedly responsible for the threats with the help of the internet service provider.
“Hopefully the public is reassured whenever we receive a threat or even a suspicion of something significant that we will respond and make sure everyone is as safe as possible,” Betters said.
Police have not yet said whether the teen who was arrested is male or female. Betters said the evidence against the teen will be presented to the Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office, where the DA will decide whether to pursue the charges.