A few social media posts caused a partial lockdown at Valemount Secondary School last week, as much of the school district followed protocol.
At roughly 10:00 AM on Oct. 6, the secondary school released a statement via its Facebook page.
“Our school is on ‘Partial Lockdown’ or Code Yellow this morning… as a precaution,” the post reads.
“We have been notified there have been unusual or worrisome circumstances in Prince George causing schools to follow protocol. We are doing the same as a precaution,” it says.
Superintendent of Schools for School District 57, Marilyn Marquis-Forster, confirmed the lockdowns were directly related to social media posts, but would not elaborate on what the posts contained.
“There were two separate events,” Marquis-Forster says.
“One post against all schools, and… one post was directed to Prince George schools, specifically,” she says.
The RCMP was brought in to investigate, and issued a statement the following morning.
“RCMP investigators determined the threats are non-credible and in some cases, outdated,” says Corporal Craig Douglass in a press release.
Schools were advised to return to normal at that point, according to RCMP.
Though, Prince George RCMP did make an arrest on Friday afternoon in connection to the second threat.
The Prince George Citizen reported charges of uttering threats and mischief have been approved against a 16-year-old boy, whose name would not be released because he is a youth.
The charges were in connection to a “creepy clown” threat against Prince George schools, however, the Citizen reported no arrests have been made in the second scare, which emerged earlier the same day.
Creepy clowns have become a phenomenon as of late, as they’ve been emerging in communities all across the United States and Canada. Sightings have led to arrests, school lockdowns, and community unrest.
SD57 will be sending out letters to all parents of the district, it says, explaining the situation and inviting feedback as to how the process went. Parents are being encouraged to share if they have any recommendations, according to the district.
The district is also encouraging families to talk to their children about online presence and social media responsibility, so students are aware of what they post.
Lockdown protocol includes locking the exterior doors, closing the blinds, having students remain in their classrooms, limit movement around the school, and response to fire alarms are suspended, according to the school.
The school posted an update by the school at 10:30 AM, saying the situation in Prince George was being resolved, and Valemount Secondary was awaiting instruction.
A second update announcing “Code Yellow” was made around 11:15 AM, which set into motion a “series of protocol” while the school awaited in instruction to return to normal.
Students who normally went home for lunch, according to the school’s Facebook page, were provided with a lunch to limit movement.
“We take the safety of your kids very seriously, and while these safety measures can disrupt the learning, and inconvenience everyone, we act in the best interests of your kids and everyone in our school community by responding with safety for all in mind,” the statement says.
Many Valemount residents commented on the Facebook page, thanking the school’s staff for acting accordingly.