Police asking parents to step up after sudden increase in threats against Kamloops schools | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Police asking parents to step up after sudden increase in threats against Kamloops schools

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September 19, 2019 - 3:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Officials have cancelled classes after a threat was made against a Kamloops school early this morning.

Police have recommended Kamloops Christian School remain closed for the day after a youth was arrested in connection to a photo posted online with an apparent threat towards the school, according to an RCMP media release.

The photo showed a young male holding two pistols with a threatening caption. RCMP were alerted of the post after receiving a tip from the international policing agency Interpol. Police won’t say if the arrested youth was a current student at the school.

This is the fourth threat made against a Kamloops school since classes began on Sept. 3.

Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Victor Steinhammer says the youth involved in today’s incident could be facing potential charges of mischief and uttering threats.

“These threats towards schools must be taken seriously and they have such an impact on not only the other students but the teachers, parents, policing resources and fire resources,” Steinhammer says. "Parents need to have those difficult conversations with their children on taking responsibility, that these things should not be taking place and the ripple effect of these situations are incredible.”

He explains the recent number of threats against schools is abnormal.

“This is the first time I have seen this many,” Steinhammer says. “We have had a few now in a short period of time.”

On Sept. 10, police were notified of a female student from Sa-Hali Secondary School had made a threat against a school through social media. Once police made contact with her and her parents, the student realized what she thought was an innocent play on words could be deemed an actual threat. The high school student was not charged.

Three days later, Kamloops RCMP were called to investigate a bomb threat that had been spray-painted to a wall at Valleyview Secondary School.

Yesterday, Sept. 18, classes were disrupted to Sa-Hali Secondary School students after police were called in to investigate another bomb threat that had been spray-painted to a wall at the school.

It took police nearly six hours to deem the school safe again.

“Coincidentally we didn’t have our dog trained for detecting explosives. It wasn’t in Kamloops so we had to wait for a dog to come from Kelowna so that was part of the problem yesterday,” he says. “Everything had to be in a holding pattern until that dog came.”

Steinhammer explains how the investigation to determine whether a threat is credible or not is a lengthy process.

“Fire rescue has to be present because if something happens, they have to be ready to put out a fire and we have to have an ambulance ready,” Steinhammer says.

Police are looking to see if there are any patterns in the recent threats but say it’s too early to tell.

“This is unusual and hopefully there won’t be a trend in this direction,” he says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Karen Edwards or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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