South Portland student arrested after threat is reported

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SOUTH PORTLAND — A 15-year-old South Portland High School student was arrested on his way to school Thursday morning for threats allegedly made via social media.

The student, who allegedly made a comment about “shooting up the school,” was charged with terrorizing and carrying a concealed weapon – a knife – Police Department Lt. Frank Clark said.

The student’s name was not released because he is a juvenile.

Superintendent of Schools Ken Kunin said there was no imminent threat to the school. He said other students saw the threat, which was posted via the Snapchat app, and alerted the appropriate people.

Snapchat allows users to temporarily share photos, videos and text with other people.

Clark said School Resource Officer Alfred Giusto and school staff determined the student had not yet arrived at school Thursday morning after the threat was reported. Additional police were dispatched to the school to provide security, while other officers sought the student.

He was found in the parking lot of the nearby South Portland Community Center, as he was walking to the high school.

After consultation with Juvenile Community Corrections authorities, the student will be placed under house arrest, Clark said. The investigation will include a search of the student’s house, he said, although there was no indication any other people were involved.

Clark said the student does not have a prior criminal record.

“I would like to particularly highlight and applaud those students who came forward and did the right thing by reporting these concerning posts,” Clark said in a prepared statement. “We would also encourage parents and family members to monitor the social media accounts of their own children, and their friends.”

Kunin said that besides facing police charges, the student will be subject to the School Department’s internal disciplinary process.

“At all times we will strive to maintain a safe environment for all of our students, our staff and our community,” he said. “We greatly value our partnership with the South Portland police and with our entire community to ensure the safety of our students.

Juliette Laaka can be reached at 781-3661 ext.,106 or at jlaaka@theforecaster.net

South Portland High School

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