‘We always need to keep up’
Schools, cops learn from recent threats
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.
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.