Ontario Provincial Police investigate bomb threats targeting several school boards across the province.
Schools in parts of northern and eastern Ontario were evacuated today following multiple bomb threats that were sent electronically to school boards across the region. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is currently investigating the threats.
Bill Dickson, the acting manager of media relations for the OPP, stated that police were first notified of the threats against schools in northern Ontario early this morning. Later in the day, they were made aware of similar threats against schools in eastern Ontario.
“There have been no devices found and no reason to believe this is legitimate,” Dickson said. He also mentioned that the threats demanded money from the school boards.
The OPP’s cyber crime team is currently involved in the investigation. “It just appears to be someone trying to make money. Best-case scenario it’s just a huge inconvenience for everyone,” Dickson added.
As a precautionary measure, many of the affected schools and facilities have been closed, and all planned after-school activities have been cancelled.
An email sent to parents by Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien (CSDCEO) stated, “As a safety measure, all students and staff in our schools have been directed to places of shelter within our communities. Students will return to the school grounds at the end of the day to return home and take school transportation.” It also mentioned that parents would not be able to contact schools during this time, but if a student needs to be picked up, parents can go to the school and a staff member will direct them to the shelter location.
Schools in the Conseil scolaire de district catholique de l’Est ontarien (CSDCEO) were evacuated, as were numerous schools in northern Ontario. The Cornwall Police Service is also aware of the situation, although they have not disclosed any specifics. CTV News Ottawa has reached out to CSDCEO for comment.
Sylvie Bourbonnais, a parent of a student at École secondaire catholique Embrun, said that her son called her to say that the school was being evacuated due to a bomb threat.
“They were told that apparently there was a bomb threat for catholic schools. That’s all we know. We didn’t get contacted by the school or the board; it was just the kids calling us,” Bourbonnais stated.
The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) said in a statement that it is taking additional precautions, even though no threats have been made to any UCDSB schools. “All external doors will be locked, which will be a change at our secondary schools, and extra attention will be paid to those who are seeking to enter the building. Students will also be kept indoors for the remainder of the day, however, dismissals and pick-up routines will continue as usual,” the statement said.
The Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE), which has schools in Ottawa, also received a bomb threat email. However, Ottawa police recommended against closing or evacuating schools. The police department is continuing its investigation.
Anyone with information regarding the bomb threats is urged to contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).