Multiple shooting threats reported by Terrace and Kitimat schools have left students, parents and teachers on edge.
Concerning messages were reported on four days between May 7 to May 13 by both Skeena Middle School and Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary School.
Officials were alerted to the initial incident at Skeena Middle School on May 7, when a shooting threat was written on the boys’ washroom mirror. This prompted the school and CMSD to contact the RCMP and Safer Schools Together (SST) — the school district’s provincial student safety experts. Then on May 10, school district officials were told of another threatening message sent on a social media app in connection to Skeena Middle School.
While this threat was also classified low-risk, RCMP members were nevertheless posted at Skeena Middle School on May 8, 9 and 10.
Then on Sunday, May 12, a concerning message was posted to the Terrace Buy & Sell Facebook page at 3 p.m. from both the Kitimat and Terrace communities.
The next day, Monday, May 13, Mount Elizabeth Middle Secondary School reported a Facebook message regarding a shooting threat. Kitimat RCMP say they have found the person responsible for this remark, and police have determined there was no danger to the public.
The threatening message written on Sunday was allegedly posted by a former MEMSS student, the district says. No other individuals have been identified in connection with the other separate remarks.
As the threats emerged Coast Mountains School District superintendent Katherine McIntosh issued multiple statements on CMSD’s website about the threats at MEMSS as well as Skeena Middle School in Terrace throughout the week, most recently on May 13.
“School district officials were immediately informed of this new message, who in turn contacted the RCMP and Safer Schools Together to investigate. Persons of interest are currently being questioned by the RCMP and school district staff,” wrote McIntosh in the latest update.
The school district will be conducting its own investigation into these incidents and has activated its multi-disciplinary Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) process involving the RCMP and other community partners
“This matter continues to be investigated by the RCMP and the school district. Any and all leads are being investigated. The school district takes its own measures and will be conducting its own investigation into these incidents.”
Officers have established a visible presence at both Skeena Middle School and Mount Elizabeth Secondary, though all threats made in the last week were deemed to be low-risk.
McIntosh says school staff and parents were kept informed throughout the week and counsellors were available on May 10 for students. CMSD is also arranging school staff sessions and parent information evening sessions facilitated by the RCMP and SST.
The Teachers Federation of BC’s branch in Terrace also held a meeting on May 13 with teachers to talk about their own health and wellness when dealing with potential threats.
”The school district takes every precaution to ensure the safety of its all students and staff. The safety and well-being of all our students and staff is paramount and events of this nature are taken very seriously,” McIntosh says.
Terrace RCMP released a statement on May 13 about their presence at Skeena Middle School and ongoing investigation.
Although they cannot release details, the first remark made on May 7 was “very general in nature and deemed to be low-risk based on the information at the time.”
“Be assured, Terrace RCMP takes the safety of students very seriously,” says Stf. Sgt. Michael Robinson in a press release. “I myself have two kids who attend that school and I remain confident in their safety.”
He adds social media has played a role in perpetuating the problem when the threatening remarks are reposted or modified slightly.
“As adults, we need to talk to our children about what they are saying and posting online. Every time someone reposts or alters and posts something related to the remarks, it distracts police from being able to investigate the initial complaint which created this situation,” he wrote.
The Terrace RCMP continues to investigate and work with Skeena Middle School. No connection has been made between the threats reported by the Terrace school and those reported by MEMSS.