District ends increased security measures

Heightened security measures at three Nanaimo schools and the district administration centre have ended.

After a week of placing private security guards at Cilaire Elementary School and Nanaimo District and Dover Bay secondary schools as well as district headquarters, the district’s threat assessment team, in conjunction with RCMP and other community partners, decided that as of Wednesday, the measures could be discontinued.

The decision to ramp up security was made Feb. 5 – the day a district employee the threat assessment team had some concerns about was released from jail.

Police said the individual had spent about five weeks in custody after being charged with threatening police officers who were investigating allegations that he threatened other people involved with the district and he was sentenced to 18 months’ probation last week after pleading guilty to the charge.

Donna Reimer, school district spokeswoman, said when the district received allegations about the individual, who is a teacher, in September, he was removed from his teaching duties at that point and the district is still investigating.

The security remained in place Tuesday because the district, police and community agencies involved were unable to get updated information over the weekend and the groups determined at that time that the situation had settled down, she said.

“From our work in threat assessment, we know there are some critical times you need to have heightened awareness and concern,” said Reimer.

“Given the situation last week, with an individual being released from jail, returning to the community, and that we have an investigation ongoing, and given what we knew and the police knew, we just felt that we needed to be cautious and see how the situation developed over the first few days.”

People might see these types of situations develop from time to time because the district chooses to err on the side of caution, she said.

The district fielded calls from some concerned parents last week who wanted more information, but at the time, released few details other than to say that an individual in the community was giving the district some cause for concern.

Reimer said the district wants to work with the community to describe situations that may arise without violating individuals’ privacy rights.

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