Edmonton police investigating online threats to several public schools

Edmonton police are investigating after online threats were sent to several schools on Thursday.

At least one school was put on lockdown while others were “on alert.”

At 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, police put Winterburn School on lockdown for about an hour. Then the school moved to “on alert” status.

“When a school is on lockdown, the doors are locked and students and staff remain quiet in their classrooms with the lights off,” a statement from the Edmonton Public School Board explained.

“When a school is ‘on alert,’ the doors are locked and no one is permitted to enter or leave the school and classes continue as normal.”

The EPSB said Winterburn was one of “several” schools that received online threats. The school division did not say exactly how many schools were affected, but called the threats “concerning.”

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“We are working with the Edmonton Police Service as they investigate,” the EPSB said.

“The safety of our staff and students is always our top priority.”

Letters were sent home to families across the school division to notify them of the online threats. Schools who were on lockdown or “on alert” communicated this information directly to their families as well.

READ MORE: RCMP lay charges in online threats against 2 Leduc high schools

One parent Global News spoke to said the school was giving her regular updates on the situation.

“(I) received an email at the end of the day from (the) principal stating what happened, why they went into lockdown… and outlining what their protocols are in a situation like that — that there was no immediate threat to the school, just had to take precautions,” Sienna Laporte said.

Michael Strembitsky School went “on alert” Thursday afternoon. In a letter shared with parents, the school notes a person posted racist and threatening messages in different Google Classrooms and via email.

The Edmonton Catholic School Division said its schools did not receive any online threats or messages, but the EPSB made them aware of the situation as a courtesy.

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The EPSB is working with police as they investigate.

Because of the nature of the messages, EPS noted that its hate crimes and violent extremism unit is being consulted.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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