THUNDER BAY – Hammarskjold High School has been closed for nine days so far this year due to anonymous threats. The situation has caused a great deal of frustration for school officials, parents and students.
Through the nine days the school has been closed and the one day a lockdown happened, there has been no reported progress toward solving this ongoing situation.
Threats to schools are nothing new. Sadly today, especially in Thunder Bay this situation for students at Hammarskjold are putting the school year at risk.
Thunder Bay Police say, “The threats ranged from planned shootings to possible explosives. The information provided required police to quickly respond to the school to ensure public safety. Each response included extensive searches of the building.
“In each instance, no evidence was found in the building or grounds relative to the threats. The outcomes of these searches were shared with school officials who then took action regarding the status of the school as they deemed appropriate.
“The investigation as to the source of these threats has been challenging given that they are anonymous. A tip line has been set up and the Thunder Bay Police encourage anyone with information on these incidents to come forward and assist investigators.
“The tip line number is 684-5001.”
School Threats Endanger Public Safety
A similar threat to schools in Kingston in December 2018 led to charges being laid against a minor who was located in Britain. Their investigation was teamed up with police in both the United States and in Great Britain.
Det. Const. Paul Robb of the Kingston Police stated that the youth could face charges under the Malicious Communications Act in Great Britain. The Kingston Police were not seeking to have the youth extradited to Canada.
The youth involved in the Kingston threats could be charged under the U.K.’s Malicious Communications Act, Robb said. The Malicious Communications Act 1988 (MCA) is a British Act of Parliament that makes it illegal in England and Wales to “send or deliver letters or other articles for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety”. It also applies to electronic communications.
Justice Takes Threats Very Seriously
A case in Sudbury which resulted in charges laid before the courts in March 2019 has resulted in some very serious conditions while out on bail for an eighteen-year-old man. A threat was made to shoot a list of people at Sudbury area schools. That threat was reportedly made on Instagram.
Ontario Court Justice of the Peace James Bubba set some stringent conditions on the suspect. These included a curfew that mandates the suspect must remain in his father or mother’s home between school hours of 8:30 am and 3:30 pm from Monday to Friday. The suspect was given a few exceptions to the curfew, including medical emergencies, going to and from work, but only while in the presence of his surety or his mother.
The eighteen-year-old was also given a no-contact order for all of the people whose names appeared in an Instagram post from the account ‘cnd_is_sus’ titled ‘CND KILL LIST.’
Additionally, the suspect, in this case, is not to possess any weapons, apply to own weapons, or reside where weapons are kept.
As well he is not to attend or be within 200 metres of any school and is not to attend College Notre Dame or be within 250 metres of the school.
Justice of the Peace James Bubba also handed down an almost a complete technology ban. The suspect in this matter is restricted from using any handheld mobile device, accessing any forms of social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat, and will only be permitted to access the Internet for the purpose of school work and assignments, or checking his work schedule online.
However according to the conditions set by Justice Bubba, the suspect may only access a computer within the home of his surety or his mother and must do so under either person’s supervision, and only his father and mother can have the password to the computer that he will be using.
In Manitoba in December 2018, threats to schools in Selkirk led to charges against an 18-year-old man, an 18-year-old woman, and a 16-year-old girl. The threats led the Lord Selkirk School Division to close all of its classrooms for a day to ensure the safety of its 3,900 students and 1,000 staff members.
There is no confirmation from authorities in Thunder Bay if the investigation has sought out additional federal or provincial resources to assist in the investigation.
Police Say Call us at 684-5001
Both the Lakehead Board of Education and Crimestoppers in Thunder Bay have offered rewards in this case. There is a total of $6,000 in rewards for the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects in this case.
Hammarskjold High School parents are guardians are invited to attend an information session with regard to the anonymous threat issue on Thursday, April 11. The session will be held in the Hammarskjold High School Gym from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 pm EDT.
Thunder Bay Police are looking to the public for help in solving this serious situation. If you know something, say something. Call the Thunder Bay Police special tip line at 684-5001.