WINDHAM — Despite an error in RSU 14’s notification system, Superintendent Chris Howell said the district’s “safety procedures worked really really well” during a bomb threat June 11.

A student found a suspicious message in one of the bathrooms at Manchester School, and all students were then evacuated to Windham High School.

Howell

At one point, a message was sent to the community in error saying that the school was on lockdown, which was not true.

“There was a message that was sent initially that was an older message in our notification system. That was corrected as quickly as it could be,” Howell said.

Howell said that within the Blackboard software, “it is not always easy to see the complete message,” which resulted in the message being sent out erroneously.

The message, which has since been deleted from the system, “was just an effort to inform parents as quickly as possible,” Howell said.

On the Windham Maine Community Board Facebook page, some residents said they were displeased with the notification system and what they deemed inconsistent communication, while others said the district handled the situation very well.

“I’ve not heard too much from parents,” Howell said. “We try to send as much information as we can as quickly to parents as possible.”

He said that the school’s safety procedures “worked really, really well.”

“We had a bus at the school within two minutes of calling. We had all of the students out of the building in about 15-20 minutes. Our transportation department was fantastic. Our food service picked up all the food at Manchester and made sure that every single kid was fed. Those pieces went better than planned,” he added.

The Windham Police Department as well as Manchester administrators are still working on the source of the bomb threat, Howell said, but he could not elaborate further because it is an ongoing criminal case.

In an email sent to the community on June 11, Howell and Manchester Principal Danielle Donnini wrote that “The Windham Police Department and State Police have conducted a thorough search of the Manchester building. No evidence of a bomb or makings of a bomb was found at the building.”

Windham High School faced criticism last March after a police walk-through inspection when an officer ordered students to get on the floor, which is not part of any regular security drill during school hours.

Howell said, “We always want to review our communication plan and how do we get the best and most accurate information to parents as possible.”

Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-9103 or at [email protected]