Several high schools were put under lockdown after threats were made against the institutions on Wednesday.
Just after 1 p.m. Holy Cross Secondary School was locked down — Mother Theresa Catholic School was also put under lockdown as a precaution due to its proximity to Holy Cross. Both schools were then downgraded to hold and secures after 2 p.m. Lancaster Drive Public School was under lockdown for a short time but was then downgraded to a hold and secure just after 2 p.m.
This comes after Bayridge Secondary School and Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School were put under lockdown earlier in the day. Both lockdowns were quickly downgraded to hold and secures after police searched the schools and found that students and staff were safe.
Police say that threats, which mentioned entering the schools with weapons in order to do harm, were made by phone to Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School at 9:30 a.m., Bayridge Secondary School at 11 a.m. and to Holy Cross Catholic Secondary School at 1 p.m. In each case, police found nothing and deemed the schools to be safe.
As well as the five lockdowns a number of other schools including Frontenac Secondary School, Bayridge Public School, École Secondaire Mille-Iles and École secondaire catholique Marie-Rivier were put under hold and secures as precautionary measures.
A lockdown is put in place when there is a potential threat of violence somewhere inside the school. This differs from a hold and secure, when the potential threat is in close proximity to the school.
On Wednesday morning, a brand new Twitter account was actively taking responsibility for threats made against the schools. The account claimed responsibility for the first lockdown at Regiopolis, and then threatened to put another school under lockdown.
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Moments later, Bayridge Secondary was locked down. The Twitter account also claimed responsibility for calling in a threat to Holy Cross Secondary, claiming to cause that school to go under lockdown early in the afternoon. Global News has chosen not to identify the Twitter account since the account is still active. Police say they are aware of the account but have not confirmed its involvement in the alleged threats.
A parent of a student at Regiopolis told Global Kingston that students were locked inside their classrooms. According to text messages received from students inside the school, some were terrified as they hid under their desks during the lockdown.
Despite the social media account’s statements, it is currently unclear who made the threats.
Emergency response teams and Kingston Fire and Rescue were on scene at Regiopolis along with Kingston police officers. Tactical officers were seen entering the school carrying rifles.
OPP were also seen at Bayridge Secondary during the investigation.
Kingston police are saying the threats made against the schools are still under investigation, and that it’s still unclear whether they are related.
Limestone District School Board decided to keep their students in schools, which were kept under hold and secures until regular dismissal hours. School buses for all three boards in Kingston were running on regular schedules although there may have been some delays on drop off times. Also, several after school events were cancelled due to the day’s incidents.
—This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.