KINGS COUNTY - Three Kings County schools were placed under “hold and secure” within two hours in what appears to be two separate incidents on April 4.
© John DeCoste, www.kingscountynews.ca
West Kings District High School in Auburn was placed under hold and secure after a student received a threat via text message. A teen was arrested in relation to the incident. Within an hour, two other schools in Kings County – Kings County Academy and Northeast Kings Education Centre – were placed in hold and secure in relation to a separate incident. An arrest was also made in that case.
Hold and secure is a situation that involves locking all external entrances to the building and controlling access to the site while allowing internal activities to continue.
At approximately 11 a.m., Kings District RCMP received a report that a student at West Kings District High School in Auburn had received a threatening text from another person. As a precaution, West Kings was immediately placed in hold and secure as RCMP rushed to the scene.
Twenty minutes later, at 11:20 a.m., RCMP arrested a 16-year-old boy in New Minas without incident. He was taken into custody and interviewed in relation to this incident. RCMP confirmed that the suspect was not on school property.
The Annapolis Valley Regional School Board says there was a strong RCMP presence at the school and students and staff co-operated fully. A planned early dismissal was delayed by approximately 35 minutes, but at 11:35 a.m., the RCMP advised the school the hold and secure was no longer needed.
“I appreciate the co-operation of our staff and students in responding well to this situation and thank them for their excellent conduct during this event,” said principal Barry Squires.
Then, over the lunch hour, both Kings County Academy, a Primary to Grade 8 school in Kentville, and Northeast Kings Education Centre, a Grade 6 to 12 school in Canning, were briefly under hold and secure after the principals were made aware of a threat.
Insp. Ken Reade with Kentville Police said police received a call about a Facebook post making reference to Columbine High School, where a massacre occurred in 1999. Reade said the police notified both NKEC and KCA.
“We were uncertain about which school he was referring to,” Reade said. “We located the individual and had him in custody within 10 minutes of receiving the call.”
Kentville Police arrested a man in his 30s in relation to the incident. There was no word on whether charges would be laid against the man, who police say is a former KCA student, but police investigation into the matter is continuing.
Annapolis Valley Regional School Board spokeswoman Kristen Lloyst said KCA went into hold and secure on police advice.
“The school did that immediately and the police came on the scene,” Lloyst said.
NKEC was also told to enter hold and secure a precaution she added, but the situation was resolved in about 20 minutes.
“Almost as soon as we were getting the message they were following up and saying everything was OK,” Lloyst said.
The RCMP confirmed the two incidents do not appear to be related.
Lloyst said that she is unaware if there has been more than one school under lock down or hold and secure on the same day before.
“We can’t say with certainty if this has ever happened before, but this is certainly an unusual occurrence. In recent memory there hasn’t been a day like this,” Lloyst said.
“Everyone is safe. We are all relieved to hear that.”