Hold-and-secure lifted after text message threat to Lord Selkirk schools

The school division was in hold-and-secure after a threat was received by text message

Update, 4:10 p.m.:

RCMP held a news conference Tuesday and said situations like this can be challenging for police.

“One of the biggest challenges to us in responding to the second situation was again looking at the information we had,” said Cmdr. Allan Hofland.

“What we found was students were sharing posts of information from the first threat and adding their own commentary to it. And so it was difficult for us to actually determine whether or not it was a new threat.”

Police said their investigation into the threats is ongoing, but that the second threat appears to be unsubstantiated.

“We can’t say enough about our community that did respond and share the threats to RCMP and to school officials,” said superintendent Michele Polinuk.

“It’s important that they continue to share if something arises that they’re questioning – to share it with a trusted adult. That’s always key.”

Update, 1:48 p.m.:

The hold-and-secure has been lifted.

Update, 1:46 p.m.:

Update. 1:05 p.m.:

The school division said the threat was received by text message and parents are allowed to pick up their children if they choose to do so. RCMP will provide an update at 2:30 p.m.

Update, 12:28:

Global News reporter Amber McGuckin is on scene. She tells us parents are picking up their kids at Selkirk Junior High.

Update, 11:30 a.m.:

Lord Selkirk School Divsion has placed their schools under hold-and-secure after another online threat. Watch for more.

Original story:

Selkirk RCMP have charged two people an ongoing investigation after social media threats led to the precautionary closure of all schools in the Lord Selkirk School Division Monday.

The schools re-opened Tuesday.

WATCH: Precautions taken in LSSD as students return to school

Kingsley Brett Williams, 18, will be in court Tuesday facing two counts of uttering threats. A 16-year-old boy has also been charged with uttering threats.

The 18-year-old woman who was arrested Monday has not been charged.

Michele Polinuk, the school division’s superintendent, said the community has been rattled by the threats.

“You’re going to school to learn and to be educated and not to have to worry about some outside factors,” she said.

“It had an effect on me personally, because you feel a hit – you work so hard to get such great programs in place. Our kids are so proud of what they do in our school, and the parents are too … and then you have one or two or three individuals, in this case, with a social media post and they just take (that hard work) down.”

Lord Selkirk School Division superintendent Michele Polinuk.

Lord Selkirk School Division superintendent Michele Polinuk.

File

Polinuk said the school division’s staff – everyone from teachers to principals to custodians and bus drivers – have been informed about the situation, and about how to answer questions from students. There are also additional support staff in the schools.


READ MORE:
Two adults, one teen arrested for threats; Lord Selkirk School Division closes for the day

She said she’s proud of the students and parents who informed the schools and the police about the threats, and that such community-mindedness will help keep Selkirk’s schools safe going forward.

“We’re always planning to keep our schools as safe and secure as possible,” said Polinuk.

“It’s all about identification and knowing who belongs on the property, and that’s a strength base of a small community. We know who should be on the property and who shouldn’t be.”

The Bear Clan on school grounds Tuesday.

The Bear Clan on school grounds Tuesday.

Rudi Pawlychun/Global News

The Selkirk Bear Clan also attended schools in the division Tuesday to show support to the students.

“We wanted to be here because there’s a lot of fear and anxiety with the students, teachers and parents of the community,” said the Bear Clan’s Tara Campbell.

“We wanted to be here because we’re parents as well, so we sang and drummed outside the school.”

In addition to the Bear Clan, the Fireheart Women and Howling Wolf drum groups also joined to show support for the students.

“I think it’ll be the same as any other day,” said Grade 11 student Haile Dryden, ” but I know a lot of people didn’t come today because they were scared of threats.”

WATCH: Selkirk School Division closes for the day

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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