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Maine advocates ask for school shooter hoax records to be released

In November, more than 10 schools were victims of an active shooter hoax. First Amendment advocates want to know how law enforcement responded.

PORTLAND, Maine — On Nov. 15, 2022, more than 10 schools in Maine from Sanford to Fort Fairfield were bombarded with fake school shooter calls. 

"There are individuals for whom this has brought about some fear about school or some anxiety,” Yarmouth Superintendent of Schools Andrew Dolloff said.

A similar hoax impacted Yarmouth and Falmouth schools on Nov. 18, 2022. 

"The impact of these hoaxes is really three-fold," Dolloff added. "First, they immediately interrupt learning for every student in the building. Second, they have a lasting impact on some students and staff in terms of their ability to feel safe at school. And finally, they impact communities financially, as responses to these hoaxes must be swift and comprehensive until it can be determined that it is, indeed, a hoax."

It's been four months since police across Maine responded to the fake active shooter calls. Not everything is known about how law enforcement responded, something some transparency advocates want to change.

“You can’t make informed decisions, you can’t figure out how to do better next time if we don’t have all the data points," Justin Chenette said. 

Chenette is a member of the Maine Right to Know Advisory Committee, which advises the legislature on freedom of access issues in an attempt to make the government more transparent. 

Chenette told NEWS CENTER Maine members of the public and policymakers could learn a lot from the school shooter hoax records being made public, something the Maine Attorney General's Office and FBI have not released. 


"I think it's important that we don't retraumatize communities," Chenette explained. "We need to allow law enforcement to do their job, I think that is important. At the same time, we need to have a timeframe for when this information can be released."

Chenette said he expects this issue to be taken up by the Maine Right to Know Committee when it meets in the fall.

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