NORRIDGEWOCK (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- With a suspected murderer at large, some parents in central Maine decided to keep their kids home from school.
Administrators assure us they are taking precautions to keep their students safe. Several were under a "lockout," meaning class goes on as scheduled, but no one can go into the building during the school day.
At Mill Street Elementary, just down the road from the search command center, police were stationed on campus throughout the day Wednesday. Still, Parents say it was hard to drop their children off at school in the morning with a suspect still at large.
“It’s such a reality and it’s tragic," says one mother outside Mill Street Elementary.
“Knowing that they are safe and there are plenty of police here to protect them was good feeling," said another mother.
Some parents however said they made the decision to keep their kids at home during this time. One mother says her son stayed home from school, not just because of the ongoing search for the armed and dangerous suspect, but because her son had recently met Corporal Eugene Cole, and is now grieving the loss.
A senseless tragedy
"Although their education is very important, If my children are going to be in fear I feel they should be home with loved ones," writes Amanda Pease. "My son who had interactions with Gene Cole recently made a huge impact on my son when he heard the news of his passing."
While she wouldn't specify, Pease said her son recently "made a bad choice," and the responding sheriff's deputy was Corporal Eugene Cole. She says she watched as Corporal Cole sat with him and talked to her son about the importance of decision making and standing up for what is right.
"He reassured my son that he wasn't a bad kid, he was a very good boy who made a bad decision and we learn from those decisions. Last night was a hard night with heavy hearts at our home."
By the time school was done for the day Thursday, there was one marked Somerset County Sheriff’s Office vehicle at the Mill Stream Elementary parking lot. Unmarked cars were on site at times throughout the day as well.