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

Ferry service increase to Nanaimo lauded by Gabriola Islanders

Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee to work with B.C. Ferries, says committee chairman

Nanaimo Astronomy Society to host Vancouver Island’s first AstroFest

AstroFest will showcase Island’s amateur and professional astronomical groups and activities

Nanaimo Sport Achievement Awards announce winners

VIU women’s volleyball is Team of the Year, Presidents Cup lacrosse is Sports Story of the Year

Nanaimo community policing volunteer recognized for decades of service

Don Willett presented commanding officer’s certificate for 25 years of volunteer service

Vehicle smashes through front of furniture store in Nanaimo

No injuries reported in Friday afternoon incident on Mostar Road

Poutine, sweet treats tantalize taste buds at Maple Sugar Festival in Nanaimo

L’Association des Francophones de Nanaimo hold festival at Beban Park this weekend

Vancouver Island Brewing puts Nanaimo bar on tap

Beer based on signature Nanaimo dessert flying off liquor retailers’ shelves

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

B.C. man creates Indigenous colouring book for children

Leon McFadden is working on 11 more books to finish the horoscope series

City of Nanaimo issues building permit for Gordon Street hotel

Ground-breaking for $21-million project anticipated this spring

High school students converge on Nanaimo for Skills Canada competition

Winners will head to provincial event in Abbotsford later this year

Realtors hope that their help can make miracles happen for sick kids

Re/Max of Nanaimo donates $86,000 to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Most Read