PORTLAND — School officials said Thursday that no children were in danger when a parent allegedly made derogatory racial comments and threatened a group of children at Reiche Community School on Wednesday afternoon.

Derek Weeks, 32, of Portland was arrested and charged with seven counts of criminal threatening and one count of interfering with constitutional and civil rights after the incident around 3 p.m. at the school on Brackett Street.

He remained in the Cumberland County Jail on Thursday. His bail was set at $250,000.

He is due to make an initial court appearance Friday.

Police said Weeks was with his child at an after-school event on the playground when he made derogatory racial comments directed at another group of children in grades 3 to 5.

Witnesses told police that Weeks then made a gesture with his hand as if it were a gun and threatened to shoot the children.

Police said Weeks did not display a gun and none was found during the investigation of the incident.

Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk said the school department works with police to make sure students are safe.

“Fortunately,” he said, “no child was endangered during the incident at Reiche.”

In a statement issued Thursday, Caulk said the “incident by one troubled parent does not define our school district or our community. We will never tolerate such extremely inappropriate behavior in our schools or on our school grounds.”

Caulk noted that this is Black History Month, when “students throughout the Portland Public Schools are learning about the contributions that African-Americans have made to our country.”

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

emurphy@pressherald.com