Threats to schools con­tinue

For sec­ond day in a row, mul­ti­ple schools in the Kingston area locked down fol­low­ing threats

Kingston Whig-Standard - - FRONT PAGE - STEPH CROSIER

Four Kingston-area schools — one ele­men­tary and three sec­ondary schools — were put into lock­down on Thurs­day after con­tin­u­ing to re­ceive threats of vi­o­lence from an anony­mous caller.

Be­tween 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Marie-Rivier Catholic Sec­ondary School, Loy­al­ist Col­le­giate and Vo­ca­tional In­sti­tute, Rideau District High School in El­gin, Kingston Col­le­giate and Vo­ca­tional In­sti­tute, and Holy Name Catholic School all re­ceived the calls and were put into lock­down. As staff and stu­dents locked their doors, drew their blinds and hid un­der desks, po­lice ar­rived in full force.

Any of­fi­cers on pa­trol in the area as well as the force’s emer­gency re­sponse unit raced to each Kingston school, se­cured it, searched it, and each time deemed it safe. The same was done at RDHS by On­tario Provin­cial Po­lice.

Noth­ing has been found at any of the schools, po­lice said.

When­ever a school was placed in a lock­down, any schools nearby were as well as a pre­cau­tion by the Lime­stone District School Board and the Al­go­nquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board. Once a school was deemed safe by po­lice, it was placed in a hold and se­cure, most un­til the end of the school day.

A lock­down is when there is a po­ten­tial threat in­side the school, a hold and se­cure is when there is a po­ten­tial threat out­side the school. Dur­ing a hold and se­cure, all ex­te­rior doors are locked and nor­mal school ac­tiv­i­ties con­tinue in­side.

On Wed­nes­day, three sec­ondary schools re­ceived threat­en­ing phone calls as well. First, Re­giopolisNotre Dame Catholic High School, then Bayridge Sec­ondary School and Holy Cross Catholic Sec­ondary School all re­ceived phone calls.

The threats made to all of the schools have been sim­i­lar in na­ture. Const. Cam Mack of the Kingston Po­lice said most of the calls have been made to the prin­ci­pals of each school, but he couldn’t say if they came from a male or fe­male caller.

“The threats are: that some­one is at the school or is ap­proach­ing the school that has weapons and in­tends on en­ter­ing and caus­ing harm,” Mack said, not spec­i­fy­ing what the weapons would be.

Const. San­dra Barr of Leeds On­tario Provin­cial Po­lice con­firmed that Rideau District High School re­ceived a sim­i­lar threat. Mack would not con­firm whether the two po­lice agen­cies are now work­ing to­gether, or if Kingston Po­lice were work­ing with any other law en­force­ment agen­cies.

A Twit­ter ac­count on­line has taken credit for the lock­downs, live-tweet­ing each lock­down as it hap­pened. Though the ac­count an­nounced which school was next, Mack wouldn’t con­firm it is con­nected to the case. Po­lice sim­ply asked for any­one who is in con­tact with any­one they sus­pect of be­ing in­volved in the threats to stop com­mu­ni­cat­ing with them. De­spite that, the ac­count’s fol­low­ers dou­bled on Thurs­day.

Const. Cur­tis Dick of the Fron­tenac OPP said early Thurs­day af­ter­noon that their of­fi­cers were at Sy­den­ham High School as a pre­cau­tion. Of­fi­cers spoke to stu­dents who claimed to have in­ter­acted with the sus­pected Twit­ter ac­count.

Mack would not com­ment on whether they have spoke to Twit­ter Canada about the ac­count.

“That speaks to the in­ves­tiga­tive side, and we don’t want to com­ment on that,” Mack said.

Stu­dents and staff shouldn’t be us­ing their elec­tronic de­vices at all dur­ing a lock­down, Mack said. The idea is that the school is sup­posed to ap­pear empty, and if a cell­phone ringer goes off, it could alert an in­truder, Mack ex­plained.

Mack asked par­ents of stu­dents at the schools to trust the process. He asked that par­ents not call their chil­dren if they know a lock­down is in place and to not at­tend the school.

“[Par­ents] need to trust their school,” Mack said. “Trust their school board, trust the po­lice that we’re go­ing to do ev­ery­thing we can to make sure the school is safe and the stu­dents are safe.”

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion about the threats is asked to con­tact Kingston Po­lice at 613-549-4660. To pro­vide in­for­ma­tion anony­mously, call 613-549-4660 and ask to re­main so, or call Crime Stop­pers at 1-800-222-8477.

EL­LIOT FER­GU­SON/THE WHIG-STAN­DARD

Kingston Po­lice of­fi­cers walk out of Kingston Col­le­giate and Vo­ca­tional In­sti­tute after an on­line threat was made to the school on Thurs­day.

EL­LIOT FER­GU­SON/THE WHIG-STAN­DARD

Stu­dents walk across Van Or­der Drive to re­turn to Loy­al­ist Col­le­giate and Vo­ca­tional School when the lock­down was lifted after a threat was made against the school on Thurs­day.

EL­LIOT FER­GU­SON/THE WHIG-STAN­DARD

A Kingston Po­lice of­fi­cer walks across the roof of Marie-Rivier Catholic Sec­ondary School after a threat was made against the school on Thurs­day.

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