George Rodriguez holds up a picture of his grandson, Jose Flores, Jr., one of victims in Tuesday’s shootings at Robb Elementary School, Thursday, May 26, in Uvalde, Texas. Kin Man Hui/The San Antonio Express-News via AP

Local schools are feeling the reverberations as the nation reels from another mass shooting, this time at a Texas elementary school that left 19 children and two teachers dead Tuesday.

Texas law enforcement officials say 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos walked unimpeded through an apparently unlocked door at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and may have been inside the building for at least three-quarters of an hour before Border Patrol agents stormed a classroom and killed him, the Associated Press reported.

Now, police there are facing faced mounting questions and anger over the amount of time that elapsed before they stormed the place and put a stop to the rampage.

The motive for the massacre — the nation’s deadliest school shooting since Newtown, Connecticut, a decade ago — remained under investigation, with authorities saying Ramos had no known criminal or mental health history.

And like the Newtown tragedy and the school shooting in Parkland, Florida later, parents, students and school staff across the nation and here in the southern Midcoast are grappling with how such a thing could have happened, and how it can be prevented.

Brunswick Superintendent Phil Potenziano said that police are increasing their presence around Brunswick schools in light of the shooting.


“Although events like this rattle our sense of security, please know that the Brunswick School Department constantly and proactively plans our responses to all emergencies, including violent intrusions,” Potenziano stated. “We cannot predict every incident, but the district does have a current, living, and comprehensive emergency management plan designed to guide our response to all hazards.”

Potenziano also referred to active shooter training the district already conducts, and to a protocol that “teaches youth and adults to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, of individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others” that will be implemented in September.

Esmeralda Bravo, 63, sheds tears while holding a photo of her granddaughter, Nevaeh, one of the Robb Elementary School shooting victims, during a prayer vigil in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

“Our faith calls us to pray for those who have died and for God’s peace and comfort for all who grieve in this loss,” stated Shelly Wheeler, principal of St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick. “While we recognize the anxiety that this event has caused many parents across the country, we also value our families’ trust in our school staff to keep their children safe. We will do everything possible to ensure our students and families have a safe and positive end to the school year here at St. John’s.”

Freeport-based Regional School Unit 5 Superintendent Becky said in a message to the community that she was “stunned and heartbroken,” while noting the Uvalde shooting was one of 27 school shootings that have taken place in 2022 alone.

“There is staff at all the schools to help students who may be struggling with this recent event,” Foley wrote. “Please reach out if you feel your child needs support.”

On Thursday, Wiscasset Super Intendent Terry L. Wood wrote in a letter to parents in response to the shooting: “We share in the heartbreak we all are feeling for the families who have lost a loved one due to this senseless act of violence. Schools should and must be a place where students and staff feel completely safe and secure. We will continue to provide a safe and secure environment in our schools by reminding our staff members of the importance of making sure all outside doors are locked, at all times and that no unidentified individuals will be permitted into our school buildings.”


Wood said she understands that all students will process this news of events differently.

“Counselors are available at each of our school buildings to assist students who may need some extra support,” Wood wrote.

Along with the letter, Wood provided a guide on school safety and crisis for families and educators to use when talking to children about violence.

Bath-based RSU1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel said in an interview with The Times Record that there were “no words to express the senselessness, sadness and confusion,” felt by the school community.

The district, he said is trying to keep things as routine as possible in order to give a sense of security, while also providing resources and tips to parents to help students.

“This year, we’ve really increased our counseling and social work and mental health services in general,” Manuel said. “Our teams in our schools are obviously much more aware if students want or need to talk about this, or if families want to reach out to talk.”


Manuel noted that the new Morse High School that opened in early 2021 was built with more safety and considerations, utilizing a door locking system and other security systems.

Active shooter training using the ALICE protocol now used at grades six through 12 may also be implemented in grades Pre-K through five next year, Manuel said.

Efforts to reach administrators at Topsham-based Maine School Administrative District 75 were unsuccessful.

John Terhune, Renae Morgan and Maria Skillings contributed to this report. With reporting from the Associated Press.

Madeleine Rigney, 9, places a stuffed bear to be donated to the shooting victims at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, during a community prayer Wednesday, May 25, in Pharr, Texas. Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP


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