All three SD 71 high schools are closed for the day. Photo by Scott Strasser.

Safety concerns prompt RCMP to shut down three B.C. high schools

Thursday was also the day for Grade 12 students to write their provincial exams

  • Jan. 25, 2018 7:30 a.m.

Two students were arrested for uttering threats after all three high schools in the Comox Valley School District(SD71) were shut down for the day, Thursday, Jan. 25.

Early Thursday morning, parents and students received the news that Mark R. Isfeld, G.P. Vanier and Highland Secondary were closed on the advice of police, due to an indication that the schools were not safe — a notification was posted on SD71’s website and social media.

“(Police) shared the information with our district staff, and we made the decision for the safety of our students and our staff and parents and family that we would close all three high schools,” explained Mary Lee, communications advisor for the school district.

“Any time the safety of the staff, students and family are in jeopardy, we will take it extremely seriously no matter what the nature of the threat is, and we will act swiftly and that’s exactly what we did today.”

Including staff, about 3,000 people were affected by the school closures.

Elementary schools within the district implemented a ‘hold and secure’ protocol but continued to be operational.

Despite reports the threat was posted to social media, Lee could not confirm the details, but added the information the school district received was specific to one secondary school.

Thursday was also the day for Grade 12 students to write their provincial exams, and Lee explained one of the first things the district did was to notify the Ministry of Education.

The district confirmed later in the afternoon provincial exams set for Thursday were re-scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday morning.

Const. Rob Gardner of the Comox Valley RCMP said investigators will be liaising with Crown counsel and SD71 as to possible resolutions to the day’s events. The two students have been released into the care of their parents.

He noted police always take every threat seriously.

“We receive these notifications in several different ways now; it’s not always by phone. But we have to take them as seriously as we can — we can’t just assume it is a joke in any means, in any time.

“This is a huge deal. There are several things that could happen. They can be charged under the criminal code -uttering threats, mischief … it’s super serious and we can’t have this happen.”

Alyssa Biollo, a Grade 11 student at Mark R. Isfeld, said she believes the district made the right decision in closing the schools.

“I got a phone call at 7:50 a.m. and I thought it was strange because I don’t usually get phone calls in the morning. (I was) just a bit confused at first. They definitely made the right decision … I’m glad they shut the schools down so that everyone was safe.”

All three high schools remained closed for the rest of the day, and police noted the investigation is ongoing.

-With files from Scott Strasser

Just Posted

Newly elected Hope politicians took part in the Local Government Leadership Academy

The three-day event is aimed at helping new mayors and councillors navigate municipal politics

No records were beat, but Hope’s February temperatures aren’t average

Normally around 3C, the sub-zero temperatures made for both good and bad in the Fraser Valley

New Chilliwack YMCA was ‘worth the wait’ say visitors

Family Day will mark officially opening for new building, after sneak peek tours on Saturday

Opioid overdoses killing three people a month in Chilliwack

35 deaths in 2018 locally compare to 23 in 2017, 13 in 2016 up from about five per year before that

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Stabbing at Lower Mainland banquet hall sends man to hospital

RCMP says victim has ‘non-life threatening’ injuries, incident still under investigation

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Most Read