What do Sanford, Portland, Brunswick, Ellsworth, Houlton, Winslow, Wiscasset, Gardiner, Fort Fairfield and Rockland have in common?

Parents wait outside Sanford Memorial Gym last Nov. 15 to pick up students after they were bused to the gym because of a report of an active shooter at Sanford High School, which was quickly discovered to be a hoax. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer, File

The Fort Fairfield schools, and the high schools in the other nine communities, all received fake active-shooter calls last Nov. 15. Students locked down in their classrooms texted “I love you” messages to their parents. Parents raced to the schools, worried that their children had been hurt or killed, only to learn that the calls were a hoax. Law enforcement personnel entered each school, going to every room to confirm there were no shooters present.

I’ve tried to imagine an experience this frightening. It brings me to tears, followed by frustration and anger. I want all Maine youth to feel safe in school. I want to do something about this. I want our students and parents to know that we are treating this situation seriously.

There is something we can do. Here is a bill being considered in Augusta.

L.D. 405 would amend the crime of false report to include making a false report to E911. The offense would be a Class C felony if it causes the evacuation, lockdown or shutdown of a building, school, public square or park, place of assembly or public transit facility, or if it generates an emergency response from an emergency responder or an emergency response agency.

Every parent, every student, every Mainer has four ways to show support for this bill.


First, find its full text at legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/.

Search openstates.org/find_your_legislator/ to find your state representative and senator, along with their contact information. Email or call them and leave a voice mail, telling them that you support L.D. 405.

And/or submit written comments about the bill; comment at the hearing using Zoom, or testify in Augusta in person. The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing on L.D. 405 on March 6 at 10 a.m. in Room 436 of the State House.

Here is another bill to consider:

L.D. 168 will require “criminal background checks of buyers of firearms for private sales, transfers or exchanges at gun shows or private sales, transfers or exchanges resulting from advertising or marketing subject to certain exceptions.” Find the bill’s full text and hearing status at legislature.maine.gov/LawMakerWeb/.

According to a 2021 poll, 70% of Maine voters support universal background checks. And 63% of gun owners support background checks. Imagine if 70% of Maine’s 904,674 registered voters contacted their legislators. That is 633,271 phone calls, emails and people giving written, Zoom or in-person testimony.


Our opinions matter to Maine legislators when they are deciding how to vote. Communicating our viewpoints is important for the parents and students and Mainers who want to do something about school shootings. Being active addresses the helpless feeling that many of us are struggling with.

And there are more bills about gun safety being considered by this Legislature. Go to mainegunsafety.org and sign up for the SUN (Show Up Network) to receive notice of what these bills are, and when they are being discussed in Augusta.

Doing nothing to promote school safety is defeating and depressing. Doing something is how we all take on this distressing situation. Perhaps our children will feel safer in school. Perhaps our families can feel a little less helpless as we gather to craft and communicate our opinions to our representatives and senators. Perhaps our teens will be inspired to choose a career in politics.

Be concerned. Be a good citizen. Own your voice. Maine needs you.

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