Precautionary measures at MSS to remain in place on day-to-day basis

By on September 12, 2017
Merritt Secondary School. (Herald file photo).

UPDATE: Although initially in place on a day-to-day basis, the school district decided Wednesday to keep the precautionary measures in place for the remainder of the week.

Precautionary measures brought in at Merritt Secondary School (MSS) on Monday due to threats made against the school remained in place today (Sept. 12).

Those included having an RCMP presence around the school, increased supervision of students by district staff as well as having the main entrance act as the only point of entry to the building.

SD 58 superintendent Steve McNiven. (Cole Wagner/Herald).

When these precautions will be lifted at MSS will be determined on a day-to-day basis going forward, School District 58 superintendent Steve McNiven told the Herald.

Students were allowed to exit the building through all doors, but not allowed to re-enter.

McNiven was one of the district staff who made the rounds around the school today, and he said while some students still feel anxious, for the most part the feeling around the school is a positive one.

“We’ve been around the school regularly, not just at lunch and [long] break, but throughout the day,” said McNiven. “Part of that is just making sure people feel supported.”

He said he was impressed with how district and school staff handled the situation yesterday.

“I think that there’s worry any time that we bring these protocols forward, but they did a great job,” said McNiven. “They were asking good questions, wanting to make sure that supports were in place. [They] had a student-centered focus.”

Police arrested a male on Saturday after receiving a report of threats being made against the high school and officers warned the school district in the process.

In response, SD 58 activated its Community Violence Threat Risk Assessment team, implemented the precautionary measures and sent out a notice to parents notifying them of the threat while assuring them there was no immediate danger to students or staff.

The notice, however, did not mention an arrest had been made.

“At that point we wanted to make sure we were giving accurate information and also protecting the investigation,” said McNiven.

He said the precautionary measures remained in place Tuesday because the RCMP’s investigation is ongoing.

“As we work through the exact information and nature of the threat — and continue to get that information through the investigation the RCMP [is] doing — we just want to make sure that we’ve got all our bases covered until that information is complete,” said McNiven.

Police have not released any further information on the male they arrested or laid charges as their investigation is ongoing.

While McNiven said he feels good about how the situation was handled there is always room for improvement.

“I think it’s only prudent on our part to always debrief through these things and continue to improve this work,” said McNiven.

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