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Halloween mask and fake gun scare prompts alerts, lockdowns at several Edmonton schools

Edmonton police vehicles outside schools in the Londonderry area Friday morning. October 13, 2017. Global News

Several Edmonton public and Catholic schools on the north side were placed on alert Friday morning after a weapons complaint, which ultimately ended up being a student wearing a Halloween costume.

Lori Nagy, spokesperson for Edmonton Catholic School District, said St. Dominic Elementary and J.J. Bowlen Junior High School were put on alert, which is different from a lockdown. On alert means doors are locked but school operations continue as normal. That was lifted at around 9:30 a.m.

Edmonton police vehicles outside schools in the Londonderry area Friday morning. October 13, 2017. Global News

Raquel Maurier, spokesperson for Edmonton Public School Board, said six schools were placed either on alert or lockdown at around 8:25 a.m. That was lifted at around 9:05 a.m.

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M.E. Lazerte High School and McLeod School were placed on lockdown while Steele Heights School, Londonderry Junior High School, York School and John Barnett School were put on alert.

All of the schools are within a few blocks of each other in the Londonderry area.

Maurier said this was done as a precaution while police investigated the complaint.

Edmonton police said it received a report of weapon around 144 Avenue and 58 Street Friday morning.

Police later found a student matching the description reported who had walked to school with a Halloween mask and a fake gun.

“As Halloween approaches, citizens are reminded to be mindful that costume props, such as fake weapons, can be mistaken for real ones,” said a statement from EPS.

Police say people should not play with a fake gun or weapon in public, should not point a fake gun or weapon at another person, and should put the fake gun or weapon down if approached by police.

The Edmonton Catholic School District sent a letter Friday afternoon to parents of students in both schools that were on alert.

The letter reads, in part, that safety of students is always the first priority.

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“Students were very responsible during the On Alert and remained safe.  As Halloween approaches, please talk with your child and reinforce the importance of not carrying any costume props that could be interpreted as a weapon,” reads the letter.

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