Lockdown at RDHS
Threat to Elgin school closes doors for more than an hour
ELGIN — Rideau District High School was placed on lockdown Thursday morning as a result of a threat, officials at the region’s public school board confirmed.
The lockdown happened at around 11:35 a.m. after board officials were made aware of a threat, said Deanna Perry, superintendent of safe schools at the Upper Canada District School Board.
“Police were called as a result of the threat being made to the school,” she added.
The lockdown was put in place because it was unsure whether the threat came from inside or outside the school, added Perry.
Under a lockdown, students are kept secure in their classrooms.
Once police confirmed there was no threat inside the school, the situation was downgraded to a hold and secure.
“Police have investigated and do not have any immediate concerns,” officials at the high school posted on Facebook around 12:30. “Students are safe but nobody is allowed in or out of the building.”
The hold and secure was lifted around 1 p.m., said Perry.
She had no details on the nature of the threat, adding this was a matter for the Ontario Provincial Police.
While the threat was made to the high school, a hold and secure order was also in place at Sweet’s Corners Elementary School, South Crosby Public School and Rideau Vista Public School as a precaution.
“All after school activities at Rideau DHS have been cancelled for the day so police can continue their investigation,” the high school later added on Facebook.
Staff at the high school would not speak directly to media.
Public board officials take threats seriously and staff at the schools run regular drills to practice lockdowns and hold and secure situations, said Perry.
This was the first lockdown of the current school year within the public board, she added.
RDHS was one of five Kingstonarea schools locked down on Thursday.
Between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Marie-Rivier Catholic Secondary School, Loyalist Collegiate and Vocational Institute, RDHS, 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.
On Wednesday three Kingston secondary schools received threatening phone calls as well.
The threats made to all the schools have been similar in nature. Const. Cam Mack of the Kingston Police said that most of the calls have been to the principals of each school, but couldn’t say if that 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 are.
Const. Sandra Barr of Leeds Ontario Provincial Police confirmed that Rideau District High School, in Elgin, received a similar threat to the Kingston schools.
A Twitter account online has taking credit for the lockdowns, livetweeting each lockdown as they 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 accounts followers doubled on Thursday.