School District 71 high schools were shut down for the day Thursday on advice from RCMP. ERIN HALUSCHAK photo

UPDATE: Two students arrested after threat prompts closure of Comox Valley high schools

School District 71 high schools shut down for the day Thursday on advice from RCMP

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 the RCMP, due to an indication that the secondary schools were not safe – a notification which was posted 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 SD71.

“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 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.

-files from Scott Strasser

Just Posted

SD68 candidates make last pitch prior to election

Nanaimo Duncan and District Labour Council hosted a meet-and-greet for prospective school trustees

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: So much for ‘say no to drugs’ in Canada

I’m from the ‘users are losers’ generation, says letter writer

Former Nanaimo Daily News editor writes first business book

Book launch for It Worked For Them, It Will Work For Me is Tuesday, Oct. 23

Interfaith Amigos find commonalities

Imam, pastor and rabbi will be at Nanaimo’s Bethlehem Centre from Oct. 26-28

Nanaimo police warn public after nine-year-old girl approached by pickup truck driver

Incident happened Wednesday morning near Park Avenue School

UPDATE: Shots fired at house during fight in Nanaimo

Shots were fired at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday in 500 block of Kennedy Street, say RCMP

Candidate lists finalized for Nanaimo, Lantzville, RDN, school district

Nomination deadline passes in advance of Oct. 20 local government elections

Election 2018: candidate questionnaires

News Bulletin’s questionnaire responses for Nanaimo, Lantzville, school board, regional district

When to vote, where to vote, how to vote

Voting day is Oct. 20, with polls open 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

Beefs & Bouquets, Oct. 18

To submit a beef or bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Chicken and Broadway on the menu at Bite of Nanaimo

Food, music and roving broadway characters a recipe for TheatreOne fundraiser Friday, Oct. 19

Bernardo-like sexual deviancy poorly understood, expert says

What exactly causes such deviance is not known but some evidence exists of physical brain damage to the front part of the brain

B.C. high school teacher faces sexual assault charges

A Mt. Boucherie teacher has been charged with child luring, sexual exploitation and sexual assault.

Fashion Fridays: You can never have enough shoes

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Most Read