‘We al­ways need to keep up’

Schools, cops learn from re­cent threats

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS - SCOTT BILLECK

The su­per­in­ten­dent of the Lord Selkirk School Divi­sion said on­line threats that shut down ev­ery school in the divi­sion ear­lier this week was a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and a chance to re­view how they deal with fu­ture in­ci­dents.

Michele Polinuk, su­per­in­ten­dent and CEO of LSSD, said the school divi­sion is al­ready look­ing at ways to im­prove and have pin­pointed some ar­eas where they could have done bet­ter.

“We didn’t do our hold and se­cures as ef­fec­tively as we needed to ,” Polinuk said. “I don’t think any­thing is static any­more. We al­ways need to keep up with the times in that kind of way.”

All 15 schools in the divi­sion were shut down on Mon­day af­ter a se­ries of threats sur­faced on so­cial me­dia on Sun­day night.

RCMP iden­ti­fied three sus­pects — an 18-year-old man, 18-year-old woman and 16-year-old boy — all from Selkirk, who were ar­rested and taken into cus­tody.

Within a few hours of the threats be­ing re­ported, RCMP had al­ready made ar­rests.

But they, too, are also view­ing this week’s in­ci­dent as a chance to re­view their pre­pared­ness.

“Is there some­thing we could have done dif­fer­ently? Was our re­sponse ad­e­quate? Was it ex­ces­sive? You can now take a step back, hind­sight is 20-20, and next time be more and more pre­pared,” said Sgt. Paul Manai­gre of the Man­i­toba RCMP.

Polinuk said stu­dents have ac­cess sup­ports within the schools to help them work through this week’s or­deal.

Coun­sel­lors, re­source teach­ers, teach­ers and any adults stu­dent’s feel com­fort­able talk­ing to are al­ways on-hand and avail­able.

“We’re in the peo­ple busi­ness, we’re about try­ing to meet so­cial and emo­tional needs,” Polinuk said.

LSSD has fast-tracked a plan to ad­dress pos­si­ble se­cu­rity con­cerns amongst their schools. On Wed­nes­day, they be­gan lock­ing all ex­te­rior doors, in­clud­ing the main doors into schools, be­tween 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

“We’re look­ing into hav­ing a buzzer-type sys­tem or an­other sim­i­lar mech­a­nism, al­most like you’re com­ing to a house door,” Polinuk said.

LSSD will also be form­ing a com­mit­tee com­prised of se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion staff, board trustees and com­mu­nity mem­bers with a back­ground in safety and se­cu­rity.

BROOK JONES, POST­MEDIA NET­WORK

Re­cent threats forced the tem­po­rary clo­sure of school sin the Lord Selkirk School Divi­sion and the Great-west Life As­sur­ance build­ing in Win­nipeg. Michele Polinuk, LSSD su­per­in­ten­dent and CEO, said the school divi­sion will look to im­prove its se­cu­rity pro­ce­dures.

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