SACO — Thornton Academy will remain closed today, and students will not go back to school until Jan. 5 ”“ after the winter break.

The private academy, which serves both public school students and privately funded students in grades six through 12, received a threatening phone call Thursday morning, according to a prepared statement from the school. Police were immediately notified, and the school was put into “full campus lockdown,” according to the statement.

Police determined there was no credible threat, but students were released just after 9 a.m. as a precautionary measure, say school officials.

“We take these situations very, very seriously,” said Headmaster Rene Menard at a press conference at the school late Thursday morning, after the lockdown was lifted.

Saco Police Chief Bradley Paul said the decision was made with the students’ safety in mind. He said the evacuation was made “without a hitch,” and he was proud of how flawlessly the school was able to release the 1,400 students.

Menard said “staff really stepped up” Thursday, and the school had previously practiced lockdown drills.

“I don’t want anyone to be in the position of wishing they had taken a further step or two,” said Paul.

All public schools in Saco were put in lockdown for about two hours Thursday, under direction of police, said Saco Superintendent of Schools Mike Pulsifer. After the lockdown was lifted, Saco public schools resumed the normal school day.

Thornton Academy officials decided to close the school today, which would have been the last day before a two-week winter break.

“Due to the ongoing police investigation, Thornton Academy has canceled classes for Friday as a precautionary measure,” said Menard in a written statement Thursday evening. “Our students’ safety is our top priority, and we appreciate your patience in this matter.”

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, Ext. 325 or [email protected]



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