ST. AGATHA, Maine — School administrators in St. John Valley reviewed safety protocols and building security during a special public meeting held after hundreds of students skipped school over fear of a mass shooting.
There was no real threat during the mass absences of Dec. 13, but school officials still met with parents the next day to ease fears over the misinformation that they had already been publicly discredited.
At least 350 students from St. John Valley schools were kept home over a widely shared Facebook post threatening gun violence.
After the Dec. 14 meeting of MSAD 33 board of directors, Valley Unified Executive Director Ben Sirois sent out a letter to parents notifying them of the next steps administrators plan to take to ensure student safety.
Sirois stressed that the students were never at risk, but that on the advice of mental health professionals, students in grades seven through 12 met in small groups with teachers on Dec. 16 to discuss concerns or questions.
Individual school boards will consider upgrading building security equipment. Sirois said the school safety infrastructure, including but not limited to, school cameras, keyless entry points and the possibility for safety vestibules will be examined and researched. Based on the recommendation of local school boards, upgrades and additional safety measures will be taken.
“Local, county and state police will continue to offer assistance, if only in the form of a presence and visibility, during any school gatherings or functions, [and] at the request of building administration. School policies and procedures will be examined and updated as necessary to include information about potential future threats and the steps to be followed,” Sirois said.
In addition, school shooting response protocols will be reviewed, and if necessary, a refresher training will be offered.