RCMP say on­line threat aimed at school un­founded

Po­lice de­ter­mine there was no risk to stu­dents or staff

The Queens County Advance - - PROVINCIAL NEWS - TINA COMEAU

Af­ter in­ves­ti­gat­ing re­ports of a threat made on so­cial me­dia about Drum­lin Heights Con­sol­i­dated School, the Yar­mouth Ru­ral RCMP said their in­ves­ti­ga­tion de­ter­mined the threat was un­founded.

An RCMP mem­ber had been as­signed to the school on Thurs­day, April 5, to en­sure the safety of the stu­dents and to ac­tively mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion as an in­ves­ti­ga­tion took place.

Later in the day, the RCMP is­sued a me­dia re­lease say­ing they had con­cluded their in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Yar­mouth Ru­ral RCMP in­ves­ti­gated the threat which was made on so­cial me­dia and main­tained a pres­ence at the school ... un­til it was de­ter­mined that there was no risk to stu­dents or staff,” the me­dia re­lease read.

“The RCMP takes threats of this na­ture se­ri­ously,” said Cpl. Stacey Gosling. “We wanted to ad­vise stu­dents and our com­mu­nity that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion de­ter­mined the threat to be un­founded.”

Drum­lin Heights is a P-12 school lo­cated in the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Ar­gyle in Yar­mouth County.

In a me­dia re­lease is­sued ear­lier in the day the RCMP had said, “both po­lice and the school rep­re­sen­ta­tives feel the threat is of a low level and con­tinue to work to­gether to en­sure the safety of stu­dents.”

Asked about the na­ture of the threat, RCMP Cor­po­ral Jen­nifer Clarke said she couldn’t ex­pand any further, adding, “We put the re­lease out in an ef­fort to re­as­sure par­ents and the com­mu­nity that we’re there and we’re look­ing into it, but we do feel it is a low level threat at this point.”

Paul Ash, re­gional ed­u­ca­tion di­rec­tor for the Tri-county Re­gional Cen­tre for Ed­u­ca­tion (for­merly the Tri-county Re­gional School Board) told the Tri-county Vanguard that the prin­ci­pal of Drum­lin Heights had re­ceived a call Wed­nes­day evening, April 4, from school staff mem­bers say­ing some­thing had been seen on so­cial me­dia that was di­rected at the school.

Ash said in keep­ing with board and school pol­icy, the prin­ci­pal im­me­di­ately con­tacted him and they con­tacted the RCMP. Ash said as the RCMP in­ves­ti­gated the sit­u­a­tion, ar­range­ments were made to have the RCMP have a pres­ence at the school on Thurs­day.

Ash said on Thurs­day the prin­ci­pal also spoke to some of the peo­ple thought to be as­so­ci­ated with what had been posted on so­cial me­dia. Asked if they saw the threat as low level like the RCMP had in­di­cated, Ash said yes and added that it be­came ob­vi­ous early on in the school’s and board’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the mat­ter that it may have been linked to a planned prac­tice lock-down ex­er­cise that the school was plan­ning for Thurs­day. Ash said the school and board felt that was a contributing fac­tor to the sit­u­a­tion.

A mes­sage was sent out to par­ents from the school on April 5 to make them aware of the sit­u­a­tion that read, “The in­ves­ti­ga­tion this morn­ing is sub­stan­ti­at­ing our ini­tial as­sess­ment of a very low threat to stu­dents and staff. We are send­ing this mes­sage to par­ents/ guardians to as­sure them that we are aware of the sit­u­a­tion and have taken ap­pro­pri­ate steps to en­sure the safety of your child(ren).

“Again, there is lit­tle ev­i­dence to sup­port any im­pend­ing threat at the school,” the mes­sage read.

Ash said the im­por­tant thing for peo­ple to know is that when­ever there is a per­ceived threat, no mat­ter if it is se­ri­ous or low, there is a pol­icy in place that will be im­me­di­ately acted on and the mat­ter will be in­ves­ti­gated to en­sure stu­dent and staff safety is at the fore­front.

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