Tighter security keep some students home

BAR HARBOR — With tighter security measures in place, attendance was off 16 percent at Mount Desert Island High School last Friday, but otherwise it was “almost like a normal day,” Principal Matt Haney said Monday.

Area law enforcement agencies had notified the school that a person who has had a dispute with some students was being released from the Maine State Prison in Warren on Friday morning. A condition of his release was that he not come onto the school grounds nor have any contact with the students concerned.

Haney said there was “no specific or credible threat.” But as a precaution, the school’s doors were locked after students arrived, and students were not allowed to leave the building until the end of the school day. A Bar Harbor police officer was posted near the school’s main entrance all day.

“We were not anticipating any major issues, and that’s the way it played out,” Haney said. “There were no incidents at all.

“The students were great about doing what we asked them to do. It was a very good day.”

Haney said the attendance rate on Friday was 78.1 percent, compared to an average daily attendance over the course of a year of 94.4 percent.

He said it was hard to know how much of the drop in attendance was due to the heightened security, because attendance is typically lighter on the Friday before a weeklong vacation.

There were no classes on Monday or Tuesday of this week; those were professional development days for teachers. School is out Wednesday through Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Haney said that, as of now, no special security measures are planned for next Monday, Nov. 28, the first day of school following the Thanksgiving break.

“We are confident that is a safe measure,” he said. “These were just precautions that we put into place in case there was some sort of initial reaction.”


Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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