While a north Nanaimo high school was placed on lockdown earlier today, police didn’t find a credible threat within the school, say RCMP.
Dover Bay Secondary School was placed on a hold-and-secure, later elevated to a lockdown, after a threat was directed at the school Friday. Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools said it implements hold-and-secures if there are “a security concern in the neighbourhood” and lockdown “in response to an armed or dangerous assailant within the school,” but according to Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, the moves were precautionary. No arrests were made, though the investigation is ongoing.
“We had the initial information about a threat directed at the school and certain students,” O’Brien said. “We kept [the hold-and-secure] in place while we were doing the investigation. As the investigation progressed, more information came in, which elevated the risk assessment, so out of an abundance of caution, it was placed in [lockdown].”
O’Brien said through investigation, police deemed that the further information they received was not credible at all.
“It was right at the end of the day, so we didn’t have a chance to go from lockdown to hold-and-secure and out. They just came in (and said), ‘OK, it’s time to get the kids out. Let’s keep the police on scene,’ and the parents and the kids like to see that and we did that too out of an abundance of caution. You never know.”
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O’Brien wouldn’t comment on whether there was any relation between today’s lockdown and a lockdown at Dover Bay back in November.
“There are similarities for sure,” said O’Brien. “We are looking at those, but that’s as far as we can go with that.”
McGirr Elementary School was also placed on hold-and-secure due to its vicinity to Dover Bay, but its status was never elevated.
O’Brien said Nanaimo RCMP is meeting with school district officials to review the matter and see “what we did well and what we can work on.”
“It’s an extremely concerning situation for everybody involved,” said O’Brien. “We know when we’re dealing with teenagers (and) we realize when we’re dealing with younger children they get extremely excited and we understand that and we’re just trying to keep everybody safe. We’re working as closely and as professionally as we can with everybody involved to resolve it in a safe way.”
There were no injuries, said O’Brien and motorists respected traffic control measures.
The lockdown at Dover Bay has been lifted & the Hold & Secure at McGirr has been lifted – all is clear
— School District 68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) (@sd68bc) February 21, 2020