SKOWHEGAN (AP) – Principal Rick Wilson met with students Wednesday to try to quell conflicts that have arisen among rival factions at Skowhegan Area High School.

Wilson said he wanted to talk to as many students as possible to ease simmering tensions that erupted last week when more than 30 students were suspended following a student sit-in to protest alleged gang activity at the school.

There have been rumors swirling around the rival factions, a group called the Carnival Killers and a group called Students Against Gangs In School.

“There are kids saying, ‘I heard this kid is going to get you.’ ‘This kid’s going to get a gun.’ Every time we investigate, it goes nowhere,” Wilson said.

Students Against Gangs In School contend Carnival Killers members spit on, threaten and intimidate other students and block their way in the corridors. Justin Longevin from Carnival Killers says the group is being targeted because of members’ appearance.

Wilson said there are different groups of kids who hang out together, but he said he didn’t think the word “gang” applied to any of them. He said some of kids think he has been too lenient with the Carnival Killers, who favor gothic-style dress and wear belt-loop chains and makeup.

“It’s not like the Bloods and the Crips. It’s about kids who look and act a little different, and people thinking I’ve been lenient,” he said.

On Monday, conflicts between the two groups of students threatened to spill over into a serious confrontation when one group showed at the Skowhegan Rec Center. Police, who were tipped off, seized several swords from a car in the parking lot.

Police made no arrests but plan to discuss the case with the district attorney. Only one of those involved was a Skowhegan high student, Wilson said.

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