Leslieville Ps School No Homework
A "hold and secure" was lifted at Leslieville's Duke of Connaught Junior and Senior Public School Friday evening after a threat was made to the school this week.
The school, near Queen Street East and Greenwood Avenue, was placed under a hold and secure on Thursday.
School Principal Beverly O'Brien said in a letter that went home to parents that the hold and secure was lifted at the end of the day on Friday. Police remained on the scene until 6 p.m.
"Police are continuing to investigate the threat that resulted in the hold and secure at our school both yesterday and today," O'Brien said in the letter.
"If it is necessary, there may be a police presence next week as well, however we don't anticipate that a hold and secure will be required."
Man facing unrelated charges
O'Brien said school staff are continuing to help police with their investigation.
"This was obviously not how we expected our days might unfold, but I am extremely proud of the way our community came together to deal with the situation," he said.
Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook, spokesperson for the Toronto police, said the man arrested is not currently involved with the school.
Later, Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu, another spokesperson for the force, said police are investigating the man in relation to the threat, but the charges he is facing are for unrelated offences. She could not specify the nature of the charges.
Douglas-Cook said the school was placed under a hold and secure for a second straight day as a precaution.
In a hold and secure, life inside the school continues as normal, but outer doors are locked and nobody is permitted to enter or leave once students and teachers are inside, according to the Toronto District School Board's website.
Jill Hollingsworth, a parent with one son at Duke of Connaught, said she wished the school had kept parents better informed.
Parents received updates from the school council on Thursday, but Hollingsworth said the school didn't offer enough information to put her mind at ease.
"Why no robocall? Why no communication from the school to say, look, there's an ongoing situation at the school?" she said. "That didn't happen, and that left this huge void that just got filled with speculation."
Confusion apparently continued on Friday morning, with parents unsure about whether to send their children to school or not. Hollingsworth said she opted to keep her son at home on Friday.
To complicate matters, a hydro outage cut power to the school for part of Friday morning. The school tweeted at about 10 a.m. that power had been restored.
Police found nothing of concern at the school but are still investigating the incident and say they cannot give specific details about the threat.
The initial threat was reported to police around 7:40 a.m. Thursday morning.
Police searched the school Thursday and found nothing of concern, but kept the hold and secure for the remainder of the day as a precaution.
Students at the school were kept inside for morning recess and lunch, and were only released to their parents. The Terry Fox Run was postponed and some evening classes were cancelled.
The school says a cross country meet originally scheduled for this morning has been postponed and rescheduled
TORONTO – “There were threats of, specifically, gun violence, of shooting the school, shooting children, students, teachers,” says Courtney Radic, a mother of two students at Duke of Connaught Junior and Senior Public School.
The Leslieville elementary school was placed under “hold and secure” on September 28th, and remained that way on September 29th.
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Radic says a police officer from 55 Division revealed to several parents that “a letter had been received by the school threatening, quite disturbing letter, threatening to shoot students and teachers.”
It prompted Radic and most parents at the school to keep their children home for at least a day after the threat was made.
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) confirms 654 students were absent out of 890 on Friday, September 29th.
Radic says a small group of parents continue to keep their children home, as they fear for their safety.
“It’s frightening as a parent,” she adds.
A number of parents reached out to Global News, including Radic, but many asked to remain anonymous.
All of them said they heard from Toronto Police that the words “shoot kids point blank in the face” were included in a handwritten letter that was received by the school the morning of Thursday, September 28th, prompting the school board to initiate the “hold and secure.”
As far as any of the families know, there has been no update and no resolution to that threat.
Ryan Bird, spokesperson for the TDSB, says “we’re not aware of any imminent threat but that would really have to come from Toronto Police, as it still is an active investigation.”
But Radic, whose children are in grades 4 and 6, remains afraid.
“I feel nervous every day, I feel concerned every single day.”
She’s especially upset about the lack of information, considering police officers were so “forthcoming” on the first day of the threat.
“We still don’t know why was it lifted,” she says, referring to the “hold and secure,” adding, “why is it safe now and it wasn’t safe then? We don’t know.”
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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