Selkirk school division ‘errs on side of caution’ by shutting down: superintendent

The Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School. Classes in the Lord Selkirk School Division were cancelled Monday after threats were made online.Brook Jones/Selkirk Journal/Postmedia Network / SunMedia

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Classes in the Lord Selkirk School Division were cancelled Monday after threats were made online.

“I didn’t want to take the chance for any of our students, parents or staff,” said LSSD Superintendent Michele Polinuk, who made the decision to close the schools after a second threat was posted on social media Sunday night. “We want to be always erring on the side of caution for safety.”

RCMP were made aware of multiple violent threats online attributed to an 18-year-old male.

Officers identified and located the suspect who was subsequently arrested for uttering threats. An 18-year-old male, from Selkirk, is currently in police custody with charges pending.

At that point one school was expected to be closed, but it was later reported that it would remain open.

Then a second threat against the Lord Selkirk School Division appeared on social media late Sunday night.

“This (the second threat) amped it up a bit,” said Polinuk.

Polinuk said she was notified of the first threat shortly after 7 p.m., and the second at around 11:15 p.m.

“You can’t control what people are posting on social media,” said Polinuk. “We have a number of people who when they see something (online), they report it.”

RCMP identified two more suspects who were quickly located. An 18-year-old female and 16-year-old male, both from Selkirk, were arrested for uttering threats, and remain in police custody.

To ensure the safety of students and staff, all 15 schools in the division are closed for the day. Students and staff were notified of the closure through Twitter, the division’s web site and the news media. They also contacted the division’s bus drivers to help spread the word.

“That is the reality of the world we are in. Any threats have to be taken seriously no matter how small (they may seem),” said Polinuk.

“People are happy that we are erring on the side of safety.”

Selkirk RCMP are not looking for any other suspects and the investigation is continuing.

“We’ve basically identified the three people involved and arrested them,” said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Paul Manaigre. “Now it’s (looking at) how many people called in (to report the threats), what kind of social media messaging did they get. Did they get Snapchat, did they get photos? We’re interviewing a whole lot of people.”

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