A former student at Invermere’s David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) said she woke up on Tuesday, March 12th to a startling surprise: a potential threat to the school.
When she checked her phone, she alleges that she saw that a current student had a public story on Snapchat that was a video of himself with a gun.
“The caption on it said: ‘Don’t come to school tomorrow’ with like a laughing face,” said the 2018 graduate. “Then he posted another one after that saying ‘wait, seriously’ with like a serious emoji face so I was like ‘OK that’s kind of not very funny’.”
The girl sent a screenshot to her father, who reported it, and to someone she knows who works for the RCMP.
“I couldn’t believe somebody would post something like,” she said. “You can prank about a lot of things in this world but that’s one thing that you probably shouldn’t prank about.”
Cpl. Chris Manseau, a spokesperson for the RCMP, said in an email that a student was arrested and has since been released. The incident is under investigation.
“If your child or teen is aware of threats being made on social media, that needs to be conveyed to police immediately – directly by the student, or through parents or teachers, or a trusted adult,” Cpl. Manseau said. “Police will work with a school or school district if necessary to determine the appropriate response to a threat. Each threat is evaluated individually, and every effort is made to keep students as safe as possible, such as locking school doors, or even evacuating a school/s if required. We also work with school authorities to ensure parents have as much information as possible, in a timely manner, in regard to their children’s safety. The safety of children is always going to be a top priority for police.”
The same day the incident was reported, principal Darren Danyluk sent a note to parents that included the assurance that: “we are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of your child and our staff members.”
In an interview on Thursday, March 14th, School District 6 superintendent Paul Carriere said the violence and risk assessment team at DTSS followed its protocols.
“We don’t control all events that happen out there in the world, but we do have a very systemic way of responding to those things,” he said. “I think that the staff is vigilant and are sort of keeping their eye on things, but I can tell you that it’s business as usual at DTSS.”
Cpl. Manseau asks parents to teach their children and teenagers to be careful about what they post online, that “anything they post online can be public” and “that they should not be saying anything online that they wouldn’t say to someone’s face.”