JAY — An intruder made his way into Spruce Mountain middle and high schools during the day Thursday and was told not to return. School resource officer Joseph Sage shared details of the incident during the Regional School Unit 73 board of directors on Thursday evening.

An email to parents obtained by the Sun Journal from a parent whose children attend the middle and high schools, said that it appears students let the person in the buildings.

“In case you have not heard already we had an intruder enter (two) of our buildings late this afternoon,” the email sent by Superintendent Scott Albert at about 4 p.m. said. “It appears that when a student was walking out of the middle school, this person decided to walk right in. Office staff dealt with him and he left. A little while later this same person got into the high school through a back door. It appears at this time that a student had let him in.

“We will continue to investigate to make sure how he got access. He made a scene in the office and lobby. He was physically removed from the building and arrested. He now has been banned from the school district. We have grown up being taught that it is polite to open the door or hold the door for people. So it is difficult but it is important that we remind children that they should not be letting individuals in to our buildings.”

Sage applauded the staff at the schools for handling the situations well.

“The staff did an amazing job; they identified the suspect and gauged that person very quickly,” Sage said. “It was exactly what they should have done. We responded and took the suspect into custody.”


Sage said the investigation is ongoing and the suspect was charged with several crimes.

“As far as school safety is concerned, some of you got robocalls,” he stated. “Protocols are in place. We have very good safety protocols but when you add a human element to that and especially with children, sometimes things like this will happen.”

Sage also provided information on his involvement in the district for the last three months.

While the arrest today was the only one to date, Sage responded to 37 calls for services that would typically constitute a crime outside of school. The calls were handled within the schools with no criminal charges filed, he said.

Sage had 55 student contacts for anything from helping with schoolwork to talking about harassment and online bullying. He has also had 15 teacher contacts, 26 parent contacts and 24 home visits.

Three out of control students required Sage’s assistance. There were six truancy issues and 17 calls to help locate students who he said either left school without permission or were seen getting on a bus but did not arrive at school.


Sage also attended various meetings, drills and trainings. He responded to maintenance issues, provided transportation, assisted outside agencies plus helped with Department of Health and Human Services referrals.

From September through Thursday, Sage was called on 258 times: 91 in September, 113 in October and 54 in November. There have been no motor vehicle accidents during that time, he noted.

In other business, new student representatives to the board of directors, Skylar Condon and Avery Ryder, said tickets are available on the Spruce Mountain/RSU 73 Facebook page for the upcoming production of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.”

The students noted Jobs for Maine’s Graduates will hold a stuff the bus event the morning of Nov. 20 at Spruce Mountain Elementary School. Cash and nonperishable food items will be collected for the St. Rose of Lima food pantry.

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