Online gun threat forces closure of 2 Leduc schools

Click to play video: 'Violent threats targeting two Leduc schools'
Violent threats targeting two Leduc schools
It was a tense Friday for some people in Leduc, where Ecole Leduc Jr. High School and Leduc Composite High School were closed after violent threats were made on social media. Sarah Komadina has the details. – Jun 3, 2022

Two schools in Leduc were closed Friday after a letter sent out to parents Thursday evening stated the Black Gold School Division was investigating reports of a social media post threatening gun violence.

Both Ecole Leduc Jr. High School (ELJHS) and Leduc Composite High School (LCHS) were closed on June 3 due to the threat, said Black Gold CEO and superintendent Bill Romanchuk.

Romanchuk expected the situation to be resolved within a day or two, but an update from RCMP Friday afternoon said the school division would reassess on Sunday whether classes would resume Monday.

“The safety and wellbeing of students and staff is of paramount concern to the Black Gold School Division and we will continue to act with an abundance of caution,” Romanchuk said.

“We will update parents by Sunday, June 5 at 6 p.m. At that time we will determine whether ÉLJHS and LCHS will be open on Monday, June 6.”

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All classes, extracurricular activities, field trips, sports and activities were cancelled at the two schools Friday, along with school busses. People were asked to stay away from the schools.

According to the letter, all other Leduc schools remained open.

Click to play video: 'School shootings: reassuring students in the wake of US gun violence'
School shootings: reassuring students in the wake of US gun violence

On Friday morning, Romanchuk said a division principal was contacted about the threat and it became apparent a second school was involved. He said they immediately took action.

“First and foremost, staff and students’ safety. It’s important that whether this is real or it’s not real, you err on the side of caution,” said Romanchuk.

“Unfortunately, we have some people who, for whatever reason, don’t like the system, or have a grudge against some people and they are expressing it violently.”

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In the letter sent to parents Thursday night, he said it was early in the investigation and couldn’t comment on the validity of the threat.

That said, the threat was being taken seriously, especially given recent events in the United States.

Romanchuk told Global News the fatal shooting at a Texas elementary school is at the top of everyone’s minds, but he said their decision would have been the same, regardless.

“I think it heightens the awareness, absolutely, that people have. It would not have changed the decision that we made to change the schools, whether or not that had happened in Texas. All of our senior administrators are trained in violent threat risk assessment.

“We know that the biggest flaw to any of this is under reaction so we’re taking the proper course of action right now.”

Read more: At least 21 dead after shooting at Texas elementary school: officials

Romanchuk said the threat was very specific and that’s why no other schools were closed.

“One of the things that were made apparent through the threats on social media — and there was a follow up in email as well — is that there were specifics that were very relevant to these two schools.

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“They’re very targeted, it’s not someone who’s, ‘I’m going to blow up all the schools’ and that’s how we made our decision.”

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Leduc RCMP confirm they were notified of an online threat made to the schools around 5:40 p.m. on Thursday. Police were working with the school division and said Friday the general investigation section was on it.

“Threats like these are taken seriously and have a significant impact on students, staff and families,” said Sgt. Scott Lande, Leduc RCMP.

Read more: Buffalo mass shooting exposes ‘blind spots’ over white terrorism: expert

“We take them very seriously and will investigate thoroughly as they have a very negative impact to our community’s feeling of safety and mental wellbeing.”

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If anyone has information in relation to this incident, you’re asked to contact Leduc RCMP at 780-980-7267. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Click to play video: 'Online gun threat forces closure of 2 Leduc schools'
Online gun threat forces closure of 2 Leduc schools

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