Bomb threat suspect IDed by SAD 4 and sheriff’s department

By Bill Pearson
Staff Writer

    GUILFORD — SAD 4 and county sheriff’s department officials announced last week a male seventh or eighth-grader has been identified as the alleged perpetrator of the first bomb threat at the Piscataquis Community Secondary School.

    The first of three recent bomb scares was received on March 21 when school officials discovered a threat written on the secondary school’s bathroom wall. The second threat was discovered on April 5 when a handwritten note was found in the secondary school’s boys’ bathroom. The third one was on April 9 when a custodian found a handwritten note found in the elementary school boys’ bathroom.
    The suspect has been suspended pending an expulsion hearing.
    Separate investigations into the three incidents were conducted by both school and law enforcement officials. Both investigations interviewed the school’s staff and students about the incidents. As part of their investigation, the sheriff’s department used handwriting analysis to identify the alleged perpetrator in the first case.
    “We were able to make a positive identification of the person who initiated the first bomb threat at the secondary school,” said SAD 4 Superintendent Paul Stearns. “The school will take appropriate and severe measures which follow our policies and state statutes. The student will remain out of school until we are able to pull everything together for the expulsion hearing.”
    School officials determined they had enough evidence on April 23 to suspend the suspect pending a hearing. The sheriff’s department charged the suspect the next morning with terrorizing. The youth was arrested and later released on juvenile bail conditions.
    A county social worker is working with the suspect as the case works its way through the juvenile court system. The juvenile case will be heard in Dover-Foxcroft District Court. No date has been set.
    SAD 4 officials will schedule an expulsion hearing after completing a re-entry plan for the student. A recent change in state law requires school districts to have a re-entry plan in place prior to expelling a student. The district needs to work with the suspect, his parents and counseling agencies in preparing a plan for re-entry prior to holding the expulsion hearing.
    “In the old days, an expulsion could mean that’s it. The student could never return to the school again and that’s no longer an option,” Stearns said. “Prior to scheduling a hearing, we first need to work with the student, his family, the police and appropriate counseling agencies. We will draft a plan that will allow a student to redeem themselves and return to school.”
    Stearns indicated the board may hold a special expulsion hearing prior to the next board meeting. The directors’ next meeting is not until May 14. The board will be voting on the recommended 2013-14 school budget on that night.
    School and sheriff department officials are continuing their investigations into the two remaining threats. Stearns declined to comment if any of the bomb threats are related to each other.

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