BAR HARBOR — Heightened security measures will be in place tomorrow (Friday) at Mount Desert Island High School out of concern for the safety of students and staff, Principal Matt Haney said in an email to parents today.
The school’s doors will be locked after students arrive and a Bar Harbor police officer will be on campus for the entire school day because of what Haney described as “a circumstance outside the school community.”
Marc Gousse, superintendent of the MDI Regional School System, told the Islander that there is “no specific or credible threat to the high school or any other school that we are aware of.”
He said law enforcement agencies had notified school officials that a person who has “connections to the area, to students” is due to be released from prison.
Part of the person’s condition of release, Gousse said, is that he “not have contact with these students or be on the premises.”
“So, Matt [Haney] was being proactive, to coincide with the release date, to put some protocols in place to ensure the safety of the students and staff,” Gousse said.
Haney said the security protocols were developed in cooperation with local and county law enforcement agencies. Those protocols include locking all exterior doors at 8:30 a.m. and requiring students to remain in the building until the end of the school day.
“Staff will be in the main lobby to provide entry to appropriate family members and visitors” throughout the day, Haney said in his email to parents.
“Any drop-offs by bus or private vehicle after the morning runs will occur directly in front of the main entrance, where the police officer will be stationed.”
In a follow-up email to parents Thursday afternoon, Haney reiterated that there is “no specific or credible threat.”
“It is safe to send your children to school,” he said.
For now, at least, the heightened security measures will be in place only on Friday. No classes are scheduled for next week. Monday and Tuesday are professional development days for teachers, and the school will be closed the rest of the week for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Haney said Friday night’s performance of “Tarzan the Musical” will go on as scheduled in the school’s theater.