Gardiner Area High School one of 10 schools locked down after active shooter hoax
GARDINER, Maine (WABI) - Tuesday turned out to be a frightening one for schools across the state after ten schools were locked down due to active shooter threats that thankfully turned out to be a hoax.
In a letter to families and staff, Superintendent of Schools Patricia Hopkins said Tuesday morning dispatch received a call that there was a shooter at the school and multiple people had been injured.
She said officers from Gardiner PD were on scene within two minutes and upwards of 30 or more officers from multiple law enforcement agencies were on site within minutes.
In the letter, Hopkins says many other school districts around the state received the same message and that it was all a hoax and similar threats were also made at school districts across the nation.
She said once they determined no one had been hurt and there was no threat to students or staff, school officials made the determination to allow students to be dismissed if they wished.
Hopkins said they urge any students who are struggling emotionally to reach out to them for support.
Here is the full letter:
Dear Families and Staff:
Today’s threat at Gardiner Area High School has been determined to be a hoax by local and state law enforcement. We treated it as a real situation and responded following our emergency plan and procedures. I wish to thank all of the MSAD 11 students and staff who adhered to their training by following our emergency plan. Each school in the district initiated a lockdown protocol to ensure everyone’s safety while we worked with law enforcement. While this was not a true threat, we can be assured that students and staff know exactly what to do in this type of situation to keep themselves and others safe.
I also wish to thank the many law enforcement officers who were on site to ensure everyone’s safety. Officers from the Gardiner Police Department were literally in the high school within 2 minutes of receiving the call from dispatch and upwards of 30 or more officers from multiple law enforcement agencies were on site within minutes.
So what happened today? This morning, dispatch received a phone call stating there was a shooter at the Gardiner Area High School and that multiple individuals had been injured. We now know that many other school districts around the state received the same message and that it was all a hoax. Similar threats were also made at school districts across the nation. When the call was received, school officials and law enforcement treated the call as a real threat. The high school was immediately put in lockdown, and upon arrival, numerous law enforcement officers entered and secured the building while other officers remained on the exterior of the perimeter as an additional level of protection.
Following the notification that there was no threat to students or staff, school officials made the determination to allow students to be dismissed if they wished. Thank you to the parents that waited patiently on scene during this situation.
Despite this threat being a hoax, we all experienced the fear that results from such a situation. Please let us know if your child is struggling emotionally with what happened today. We will provide as much support as possible.
Tomorrow afternoon an emergency response training session with representatives from the Gardiner Police Department, State Police, Kennebec Sheriff’s Department and all of our local fire officials was already scheduled to review our plan to ensure proper coordination amongst all emergency agencies in situations just like today. Rather than focusing on a manufactured event, we will now use today’s event to further review the effectiveness of our existing plan.
I hope that today’s response by law enforcement and school officials provides everyone some sense of comfort that in these situations students and staff safety are taken seriously and are our top priority.
Superintendent of Schools
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