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

Second annual Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce golf tournament

Golf Holes #2 and #6 are Hole-in-One opportunities, each with a cash prize of $25,000!

No taxes paid by Neucel, Doug Bondue Arena in Port Alice closes

“Neucel owes us a million dollars and it’s pretty hard to stay status quo when you’re short a million.”

Dragonboat society requests new location for 80 square foot storage shed in McNeill

“Part of my concern for using lot B is that it could become a parking lot for them…”

Klatt a force on the field – helps Bantam A Tyee’s win provincials

David Klatt played in every game last weekend down in Nanaimo.

Port McNeill releases in-depth Beach Drive landslide report

“It’s very positive,” said the town’s Public Works Foreman Julian Allen.

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

Vehicle catches fire near Vancouver Island provincial park

Fire shut down Highway 4 in both directions

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are a class of pesticides used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike

Wildfire smoke blankets B.C. and Alberta, prompting air quality advisories

About 25 new wildfires were sparked between Monday morning and midday Tuesday

Big bucks for painting of small B.C. town

A 1965 painting of Ashcroft by E. J. Hughes exceeded its pre-auction estimate at a recent sale.

Column: Mother orca’s display of grief sends powerful message

The grief of this orca mother may not be visible anymore, but we must not forget.

Seven people with ties to Red Scorpions gang arrested in B.C. drug bust

Delta police have secured 94 charges against seven people, including drug and firearm offences

Most Read