A former student at Invermere’s David Thompson Secondary woke up on Tuesday to a startling surprise: a potential threat to the school.
She was checking her phone and saw that a current student had publicly posted a video on Snapchat of himself with a gun.
“The caption on it said: ‘Don’t come to school tomorrow’ with a laughing face,” said the 2018 graduate, who did not want her name published. “Then he posted another one after that saying ‘Wait, seriously’ with a serious emoji face so I was like, ‘Okay, that’s kind of not very funny.’”
The girl sent a sent a screenshot to her father, who reported it to police.
“Guns are not a joke,” the young woman said. “Being a gun owner and operator myself, I just thought that was super uncool.”
RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Chris Manseau said in an email the student was arrested and later released. Charges are being considered.
A similar case happened in the Lower Mainland last month, when a photo of a gun was posted to social media with the same caption, appearing to threaten a Chilliwack school. RCMP found there to be no threat, and the young person who did the posting was not charged.
“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,” Manseau said.
“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 same day the incident was reported, principal Darren Danyluk sent a note to parents that said: “We are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of your child and our staff members.”
In an interview Thursday, School District 6 superintendent Paul Carriere said the violence and risk assessment team at the high school followed 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,” Carriere said. He declined to say if the school would take any disciplinary action against the student, citing confidentiality.
Manseau asks parents to teach their kids to be careful about what they post online. “Anything they post online can be public,” he said. “They should not be saying anything online that they wouldn’t say to someone’s face.”