Students at Mt. Boucherie school are safe and sound, despite a flurry of online reports indicating otherwise.
Hugh Gloster, superintendent of the Central Okanagan School District, explained that two students at the school had received threats of violence Wednesday night, via text message and Instagram.
“The threat was to students generally at Mt. Boucherie,” said Gloster, noting that they were related to gun violence. “The message got to the RCMP yesterday, and they conducted a detailed follow up… They have since closed the file. It turned out it wasn’t an actual threat. More of a hoax. “
Although the school district took the threat seriously, and dealt with it alongside the Mounties accordingly, rumour and innuendo in the online world seeped out and made the situation appear even more serious than it was, inciting panic among parents.
“Someone saw a sports team going onto the bus for a school trip, and they thought the school was being evacuated,” said Gloster, pointing out that the rumour even made it into the local news cycle.
“There was no evacuation of the school.”
By that point, Mounties were already interviewing the person who had made sent the menacing messages and were confident that there was no risk to students.
“So school went ahead as per normal,” said Gloster. “With social media nowadays, things like these get out there quickly and people take threats very seriously.”
Some parents even kept their children home from school when they got wind of what wasn’t actually happening.
Gloster said he understands the instinct, however, the school has protocols in place that assure, above all else, that students and faculty are safe.
As for the Mounties, they’re still on the case.
“RCMP take threats very seriously,” said Cpl. Joe Duncan, in a press release.
“The Kelowna RCMP will investigate the matter thoroughly and if need be, lay the appropriate criminal charge. We ask people to always take the precaution of notifying their local police when they come across posts or comments on social media sites that are of a threatening nature.”