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

Chilliwack firefighters douse Yarrow shed fire

No one injured in the Tuesday afternoon blaze

Chilliwack gymnast to compete in Pan American Championships

Canadian national teamer Zachary Clay travels to Peru in September for international competition.

Harv Westeringh announces run for Chilliwack council

The local realtor/builder has strong interest in municipal issues and fiscal responsibility

Night patrol on Chilliwack waters leads DFO to seize 48 sockeye and harbour seal from poachers

Charges pending after two poachers arrested for fishing at night

Highway 7 down to one-lane alternating as crews fight Mt. Hicks wildfire

150-hectare blaze prompted closure of a provincial park

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was “shocked” by the feedback she received from one of the bankers.

Hedley frontman’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

Jacob Hoggard faces three sexual assault-related charges will return to a Toronto courtroom this morning.

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, says environment minister

More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report how much raw sewage overflowed from their pipes in 2017.

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

The “real number” of abused children and abusive priests might be higher since some secret church records were lost and some victims never came forward.

Defiant as Trump rages, Omarosa says she won’t be silenced

Manigault Newman declared she will not be silenced by President Donald Trump, remaining defiant as her public feud with her former boss shifted from a war of words to a possible legal battle.

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse; blame begins

The collapse of the Morandi Bridge sent dozens of cars and three trucks plunging as much as 45 metres (150 feet) to the ground Tuesday.

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Most Read