RCMP say online threat aimed at school unfounded
Police determine there was no risk to students or staff
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.