Ten schools in the Kingston area were forced into lockdown or hold and secure after principals and school secretaries received threats on Wednesday, Dec. 5, and Thursday, Dec. 6.
On Friday, hundreds of students and staff returned to their classrooms. The Limestone District School Board said that mental health professionals are in schools providing support to students and staff.
“We have been in contact with our families directly about how we can support them and our students. We are also working to support staff through this challenging and upsetting week,” read a release from the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board.
The director of Queen’s University Psychology Clinic, Tess Clifford, told Global News that for children and youth it’s important to reassure them that the adults are doing their jobs to make everyone feel safe.
Former Toronto Police homicide sergeant, David Perry, also weighed in on the recent lockdowns by saying that the threats made are not only detrimental to the students and staff, but it requires special police units to respond.
“It’s upsetting seeing tactical units going into schools and children locked in school rooms in darkness having police come in with rifles and flashlights. It is unnerving but unfortunately, it is necessary and that is where we are today,” said Perry.
Kingston police said Thursday afternoon that the students and staff locked inside their classrooms should avoid using electronic devices for the duration of the lockdown. This direction was echoed by the Limestone District School Board in a letter to parents, “Cell phones can clog up the airwaves which are needed for emergency communications. They can spread misinformation and panic, and could be giving away information that might jeopardize safety and/or prevent the police from their investigation.”
In regards to arrests made in connection to the threats, Kingston Police said, all they can report at this time is that the investigation is ongoing.