Gorham middle and high schools sent students home early Friday following reports of threats at the two schools, the superintendent said.

The first threat was reported around 8 a.m. at Gorham High School as students were arriving for the day. The district worked with the Gorham Police Department to assess the threat and determined it to be credible enough that “out of an abundance of caution” they would send students home, Superintendent Heather Perry said.

The school went into a soft lockdown until school buses were available for transportation, she said. A soft lockdown is when a school building is closed to the outside but people inside can still move about the building.

As plans were being made for the dismissal of high school students, a second threat was received at Gorham Middle School and a decision was made to also send those students home.

“It was all out of an abundance of caution,” Perry said in a phone interview around 11:15 a.m. “The students were very safe and we worked in collaboration with the Gorham police. At this point, the buildings are closed and we have released the students.”

Perry said she could not provide additional details about the nature of the threats – whether they were made by students at the two schools and whether they involved social media – due to an ongoing police investigation.


Elementary schools in the district were placed in soft lockdowns while the threats were investigated at the middle and high schools. The lockdowns lifted at those schools around 10 a.m. after it was determined the threats didn’t impact them.

Perry said the district had already increased police presence at its schools Friday due to a TikTok “challenge” promoting threats of violence at schools around the country. She said she was uncertain whether the threats made in her district were related to the challenge and said police are still investigating.

Both the high school and middle school will remain closed for any extracurricular activities or events Saturday. The plan is to reopen Monday.

“As troubling and sort of unnerving as these threats can be, one of the benefits of this is we do exercise our safety protocols and procedures and it helps us to know our schools are safe in an emergency,” Perry said. “The response we have, even in a situation where there was no occurrence (of violence), shows we were prepared and it makes me feel secure knowing we have a process in place to keep students safe.”


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