Athletics Office Clarifies the Excused Absence Following January 2 Safety Threat


Carly Guerrette

Quinn Demerchant ‘22 skated onto the ice with fellow teams to play Waterville/Winslow on Friday January 3. “I felt comfortable due to the precautions our school took. We still had a good fan base and a good game,” said Demerchant The game took place at the Northern Maine Forum. Presque Isle won over Waterville Winslow 8-3.

Carly Guerrette, Staff Writer

The day after the January 2 threat made via email to PIHS principal David Bartlett, which outlined specific threats to PIHS students and staff, over 240 PIHS students stayed out of school, with over 700 students absent district wide. SAD 1 took extra precautions on that Friday: Presque Isle Police Department along with the Aroostook County Sheriff’s department made several rounds at all SAD 1 schools and facilities. Other precautions included elementary students staying inside for recess, as well as the high school upperclassmen staying in the building for lunch. 

In addition to precautions taken by PIHS and SAD 1, there was another step taken to reassure families. A story posted by the Bangor Daily News on January 2 stated that, “Administrators would excuse all absences from SAD 1 schools on Friday.” With about 50 percent of PIHS students out on Friday, that option clearly had an impact.

For many PIHS student athletes, however, that excused absence had to be clarified.

On that Friday the varsity ice hockey team hosted an evening game against Kennebec. The athletics office quickly clarified that in order to participate, the athletes would need to attend school that day. Many students misunderstood the policy about not coming to school and still being able to play in a game. “If the parents didn’t feel safe sending their kids to school, we wanted to support that decision to keep their child home,” said SAD 1 Athletic Director Mark White.

White mentioned that he wanted to make sure that all parents and guardians felt safe sending their children to school as well as to the after school events on that same day. White believes that any school building or event may realistically be less safe after regular hours, which is why if students did not go to school that day they could not participate in a sporting event or practice.

On Thursday January 2 all SAD 1 athletic practices and events were cancelled.  “It took a team effort to decide what to do on the sports side of things,” said White. Regular practices resumed on Friday January 3.