MAINE, USA — The recent mass shooting, which killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, is making an impact across the country.
In Maine, school officials statewide have been facing violent threats; 10 just within the last 30 days, according to NEWS CENTER Maine's reporting.
Six reports of violent threats phoned into northern and eastern Maine schools, a Greely High School student arrested after threatening to shoot three students, South Portland High School sending students home over a threat, Poland's Whittier Middle School suspended a student after they found a "kill list" on his school-issued laptop, and King Middle School in Portland Wednesday shifting to online learning amid threats written on bathroom walls are all examples of what has happened recently.
"We just have this image burned into our minds from the slaughter of people in this country from mass shootings ... It's very easy for parents and children to imagine exactly what that situation is," Geoff Bickford of the Maine Gun Safety Coalition said.
Bickford said that while there hasn't been a mass shooting in Maine, increases in threats put him on edge.
"We are so lucky we have not had a school shooting in Maine," Bickford said. "Any one of those threats could have become actionable, we've had instances in the past where we've had an intervention, like in Ellsworth ... we might not be so lucky next time."
Meanwhile, the Maine Department of Education is offering resources for schools to train themselves when threats come to their classrooms.
"Maine schools are in a good position to deal with threats and analyze them to understand if they're a substantial threat or just something like an acute issue that needs to be addressed immediately," Jonathan Shapiro with the Maine School Safety Center said.
Shapiro added that the increases we have seen in Maine's threats to schools are not exclusive to Maine, but follow a national trend he notices towards the end of every school year.
"All threats should be taken seriously, once you analyze the threat you can understand what the veracity of that threat is and act accordingly," Shapiro said.
Shapiro added that his office in the Maine School Safety Center, part of the Department of Education, provides free training to students, teachers, and families when it comes to school threats.
The next training is free, and is on May 26. You can register here.