Gun Threat at Calais High School Postpones Winter Carnival

There were members of local Law Enforcement Agencies on hand at Sunday's Family Fun Day at Pocomooshine Lake. Here are just a few members of the Baileyville PD and Warden's Service. Also represented was the Baileyville Fire Department and Downeast EMS. (Photo by Kaileigh Deacon)

By Lura Jackson

 

On the heels of a devastating mass shooting at a high school in Florida, the closing event of the Winter Carnival at Calais High School was postponed when a threat was made over social media on Friday. The threat, which involved potentially bringing one or more guns to the Winter Carnival bonfire, was addressed quickly by school administration and Calais police.

The threat was acknowledged publicly in the school in the late afternoon. Superintendent Ron Jenkins said that several students brought it to the attention of school administration, adding that they were very concerned about the situation. “Upon investigation, the principal detained three students and called me,” Jenkins said. “We decided to contact the police and parents since we were not sure if others were involved.” The three students were interviewed by the police and written reports were taken from everyone who had witnessed or heard the threat, including a teacher. According to Calais police Sergeant Bill White, the incident remains under investigation and no charges have been filed at this time. 

After discussing the threat, and in full acknowledgment of the Florida shooting, Jenkins and CMHS Principal Mary Anne Spearin made the decision to postpone the Winter Carnival bonfire and all other after school events to await a full investigation and they could be confident of the safety of attendees. “No one was physically hurt, but there were many that were afraid considering recent events,” Jenkins said.

The Winter Carnival finale has been tentatively rescheduled to March 2nd, the first Friday after classes resume from February break. When school resumes session that week, Jenkins said the school will handle any student consequences arising from the investigation. 

The incident has prompted parents in the area to question the school’s safety protocols so that they may be better informed of the procedure should something like this happen again. Others have said they are reticent to send their children back until the investigation has been cleared and details affirming the safety of the campus are made public. Calais Police Chief Dave Randall impressed that there was not a tangible threat and that the school remains save. “There was no immediate risk to anyone getting hurt or to the safety of students at the school,” Randall said. “If we felt there was any danger, parents, WCCC and citizens would have been notified.”

Calais is not the only school in Maine to receive threats following the shooting in Florida, which left 17 dead. Within a few days’ time, schools in Topsham, South Portland, Augusta, Naples, and Caribou received threats from students, some of which were gun-related.