WATERVILLE — Public school officials are gathering input from school staff members, police and others to determine if two students charged last weekend with terrorizing should remain in school or be expelled.

The students were charged Saturday after they emailed a threat of violence to many Waterville Public Schools students and staff members, according to police and school officials.

Officials at the time declined to explain the nature of the threat, but Superintendent Eric Haley said Wednesday, “They threatened to bring guns to school and shoot specific people, with a lot of foul language.”

Haley issued a robocall to parents Tuesday saying the two suspects will not be at school next week when students and employees return from vacation.

“They will not be in school while we’re doing that threat assessment, which will take the better part of a week,” Haley said Wednesday.

He said once school staff members, law enforcement representatives, mental health professionals and others analyze the information, they will determine whether the students will be allowed to stay in school.


Haley would not identify the students who were charged or reveal each youth’s age and gender. Asked if they had been in trouble before, Haley said: “These are not kids that you’d expect would do something like this. I don’t expect any kids to do something like this.”

Haley said he has been in education for decades and seen many fads and trends. Students make mistakes, he said, and a good part of what public schools do, hopefully, is to teach them about their mistakes.

“This is a bad one — a real bad one,” Haley said, “but they are kids, and we can’t depend on putting them in jail and throwing the key away as a way to educate them.”

Assistant Superintendent Peter Hallen, who has been selected to become superintendent in July when Haley retires, said Wednesday that some parents have questions about the process and might have misunderstood the robocall to mean the students charged would be out of school for a week and then would return.

Hallen sent a message out to those parents saying that as the parent of children who attend Waterville Public Schools and whose spouse works at a school building, he understands the fear and anxiety the incident has generated in the community. He said he would do his best to explain the steps being taken and that final decisions cannot happen without due process.

The Waterville Police Department completed a threat assessment as soon as the two students responsible for the emailed threat were identified, according to Hallen. The assessment was to determine if the threat was credible, he said.


“Based on the interviews with families, the students and searches of all the premises and electronic devices, the Police Department determined that the threat was transient. That means that they felt there was no ability and/or intent for the students to carry out the threat,” Hallen said. “This led to the terrorizing charges, which acknowledged the serious impact of the message on the community, even if actual violence was not the intent.”

Interim police Chief William Bonney said Saturday in a statement released to the news media that police became aware of the threat late Friday and determined a student assigned to the email address from which the threat originated did not send the message.

Bonney said the two youths were issued a summons Saturday, not arrested. Asked about next steps, Bonney said the youths will have a court date, but they would see a juvenile community corrections officer before that.

School officials and police Officer Jake Whitley investigated the case and determined from where the message had been sent, according to Bonney.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.