Law enforcement officers prepare to leave Spruce Mountain Middle School in Jay on Thursday afternoon after a written bomb threat was found in bathroom stall prompted evacuation of the building. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

JAY — A bomb threat scrawled on a note in a bathroom stall Thursday morning at Spruce Mountain Middle School was determined to be a “hoax,” Superintendent Scott Albert said.

“We followed protocol, the middle school students were evacuated to the high school gym,” Albert said. Eventually, all Regional School District 73 students were released from schools in Jay and Livermore, he said.

After the note was found, Albert called school resource officer Joe Sage, who contacted Maine State Police to request bomb-sniffing dogs check the building. Police Chief Richard Caton IV and Sage met with Albert on the walkway between the middle and high schools.

“The state police and their bomb-sniffing dogs found no evidence of a bomb in the middle school,” Albert said. “It was a hoax. We will work with local law enforcement to try to find out who the perpetrator was.”

The threat is a crime and will be treated as such, he stated. It caused disturbance, stress and anxiety to staff, students and families and put others at risk who might be experiencing a real emergency while law enforcement is tied up dealing with a hoax, Albert added.

Middle school Principal Caroline “Carrie” Luce said, “It has been such a strange school year. Everyone is safe. That is all that matters.”

Bomb Squad Commander Patrick Pescitelli along with four dogs and their handlers took about an hour to clear the building. They were Troopers Shawn Porter and K-9 Kora and Jon Brown and K-9 Amos, and Detectives Chris Crawford and K-9 Ruckus and Reid Bond and K-9 Rocco.

The Spruce Mountain Elementary School play scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the middle school will be staged Friday at the same time, according to school officials.

Maine State Police Bomb Squad Commander Patrick Pescitelli, left, stands with troopers and detectives and their bomb-sniffing dogs Thursday at Spruce Mountain Middle School in Jay after a bomb threat was determined to be a hoax. From left are Trooper Shawn Porter with Kora, Detective Reid Bond with Rocco, Detective Chris Crawford with Ruckus and Trooper Jon Brown with Amos. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

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