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Police secure school, take Houlton student into custody following threat

HOULTON, Maine — Police and school officials places Houlton Middle-High School in “secure mode” early Thursday morning after learning a student made a threat on social media.

“Houlton ​Middle-High School was placed in a secure mode this morning while police and school officials investigated a threat on Facebook,” Superintendent Ellen Halladay said Thursday. “Authorities have determined the threat to be unfounded.”

Houlton Police Chief Tim DeLuca said Thursday that his department responded to the school shortly after 8 a.m. for the report of a “credible, but not imminent” threat made by a juvenile student.

“We went into the school, identified the suspect, and determined the individual did not have any weapons to carry out any threat,” the chief said.

An officer was placed at each entrance of the school, while other officers and school officials searched the school. The juvenile student was in police custody as of 11:30 a.m., Chief DeLuca said.

Although no threats were made to Houlton Elementary School or Houlton Southside School, members of the U.S. Border Patrol and Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office were deployed to those schools to monitor outside the buildings. Neither of those schools were placed in “secure mode” the chief said.

“We were just taking precautions while authorities worked through the unfounded threat,” Halladay said. “Classes were held but students were not allowed out of the classrooms except to move to their next class.”

Students were not removed from the high school.

Neither Halladay, nor DeLuca stated the precise nature of the threat other than to say it involved a post on Facebook that appeared to threaten violence at Houlton Middle-High School.

“It appears to be nothing more than a bad prank that got out of control,” Chief DeLuca said. “The kids were not in any imminent danger.”

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