Tuesday’s perceived threat to Selkirk-area schools was from old post that was reshared, police say

The Lord Selkirk School Division has lifted a “hold and secure” for its schools after police determined a perceived threat was simply an old message that had been re-shared online, and not a new threat to the schools. 

Schools had been put on the security status, which limits entry and exit but allows classes to continue, after more threats surfaced Tuesday morning. 

The division posted the alert on its website and Twitter at about 11:30 a.m. 

On Monday, the division closed all 15 of its schools, just north of Winnipeg, due to threats surfacing on social media. Three young people were arrested in connection with the threats and two have been charged. 

“The last couple of days have been challenging for us,” RCMP Insp. Alan Hofland said.

Another threat was found by RCMP Tuesday morning, but was later determined to be an old threat that was reshared multiple times through social media, Hofland said. 

The schools were placed in a modified hold-and-secure mode out of precaution, which means students could leave their classrooms, but not the school, and no one was allowed to enter the school. 

It really did impede our ability to get to the bottom of the matter.–  RCMP Insp. Alan Hofland 

It was difficult to determine if the threat was new, or simply a previous threat that was being reshared as it had been reposted several times over on social media, Hofland said.

“It really did impede our ability to get to the bottom of the matter,” he said, adding that police are asking people to report anything suspicious that they see, rather than sharing it again online. 

“We rely on people to keep us informed of what’s happening. We’re asking people to come forward if they do see anything suspicious,” he said. 

“Any delay in doing that results in a hindrance to us to provide response to that threat.”

Hofland went on to say that a threat like this results in “stress, causes fear, causes uncertainty.”

“Wondering what to do, how to do it, am I going to be safe? Are my friends going to be safe?” he said. “Mom and dads wondering, do I come get my kid?… All kinds of questions, all kinds of uncertainty.” 

No arrests were made Tuesday in connection with any threats to the school division, but the RCMP’s investigation is still ongoing, Hofland said.

Watch the full press conference with RCMP and the school division: