Topsham’s Mt. Ararat Middle School canceled classes Monday morning after a bomb threat.

Someone left the threatening message on a school staff member’s voicemail around 9 p.m. Sunday, according to school district Superintendent Heidi O’Leary and Topsham police Chief Marc Hagan. The voicemail was discovered around 7 a.m. before students arrived for school.

“The anonymous caller mentioned a name and claimed that there was a bomb within the school premises,” O’Leary wrote in an email to parents. “The school took decisive steps to protect the students and staff present.”

She said school buses were diverted to Mt. Ararat High School and students were dismissed at 9:15 a.m.

“We commend both students and staff for their exemplary response to this challenging situation,” O’Leary said. “Their adherence to established protocols and their collective efforts ensured that the safety and well-being of every individual remained the top priority throughout this incident.”

Two Maine State Police dogs searched the school and didn’t find any explosive devices, according to Hagan.


A similar incident happened at Casco Bay High School in Portland Monday morning, when police received a text that there was an active shooter at the school. The school was evacuated and students were taken to a nearby middle school.

Hagan said authorities are investigating to determine whether the incidents are connected.

Bill Stewart of Topsham said he was driving his eighth-grade daughter to school around 7:30 a.m. and saw buses and groups of students headed to the high school about a half-mile away.

“It was a little bit of a chaotic scene,” he said.

Mt. Ararat High School Principal Chris Hoffman said classes at the high school continued as usual after the middle school students were dismissed.

“Our hope is that the remainder of the today can approach feeling normal for students,” he wrote in an email to parents.


Topsham police said they were working with school officials to determine the origin of the threat.

Earlier this summer, Gov. Janet Mills approved a new law that makes reporting a fake bomb threat or active shooter situation a Class C felony instead of a misdemeanor. A Class C crime is punishable by up to five years of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.

State Sen. Anne Carney, a Democrat from Cape Elizabeth, said she crafted the bill in response to a series of active shooter hoaxes directed at 10 Maine schools, including ones in Brunswick and Wiscasset.

“Those who terrorize Maine schools through hoax calls will be held accountable,” Carney said at the time. “This change ensures that when a false alarm is made to an emergency communications center or the 9-1-1 system, our laws will provide both a deterrent effect and an enforcement mechanism.”

Comments are not available on this story.