Downeast School went into a lockdown Tuesday afternoon after parents reported what they believed to be a suspicious car driving around the school, according to an email sent to some parents by the Bangor School Department. The lockdown ended soon after when Bangor police investigated, stopped the car in question and discovered that the vehicle was not suspicious, according to Lt. Paul Kenison.
“The principal put the school into lockdown during the after school activities dismissal and called the police,” Superintendent Betsy Webb wrote in an email. “The police have the driver and have shared it is safe to release the students and send them home on the bus.”
Principal Albert Mooers initiated the lockdown — during which the school building is locked and no one is allowed to enter or exit the building — after the parents’ complaint, around 4 p.m., while some students were still on campus for after-school activities. Downeast School serves students in prekindergarten through third grade.
Police pulled the car over a few minutes later, and determined quickly that the driver was not dangerous. Kenison said the report police received flagged the car as suspicious because it kept circling the area around the school and some parents saw the driver holding something in his hand, which they were worried might be a weapon.
“It was a misidentified thing,” Kension said. The lockdown “was a precautionary move on the school’s part, and we were able to resolve everything.”
After the lockdown was lifted the school released students and sent them to their buses safely.
This is the second lockdown in Bangor within the past few weeks. A social media threat of violence in late March targeting Bangor High School and the James F. Doughty School sent all of the city’s schools into lockdown. Police later arrested a 13-year-old Bangor student and charged him with terrorizing.
After that incident, Webb and Bangor police asked the community to stay vigilant and immediately report potential threats to safety.
“Thank you to the parents for saying something when they saw something,” Webb said in her email to parents. “And to our Downeast School for keeping students safe.”
A voicemail left for Webb about 6 p.m. Tuesday was not immediately returned.