19-year-old man arrested in connection with threat against Perth-Andover school

19-year-old man arrested in connection with threat against Perth-Andover school

A 19-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a threat against Southern Victoria High School in Perth-Andover Monday that saw students and staff under a hold and secure order for part of the day, say RCMP.

The man was arrested without incident in a neighbouring community and the investigation is continuing, Staff Sgt. Ross Gorman said in a statement.

No information about the nature of the threat or the investigation has been released.

But Jason Humphrey, an Anglophone West School District spokesperson, said the "threatening message was brought to the attention of the principal," Valerie Sullivan, in the morning.

"As the safety and security of students, teachers and staff is of utmost importance, the school immediately activated its comprehensive school safety plan and placed the school in a state of hold and secure," said Humphrey.

The RCMP were also notified, he said.

RCMP said the hold and secure order, which prevents anyone from entering or exiting the school, was issued prior to noon as a "precautionary measure" while officers investigated the validity of the threat.

Police were also asking members of the public to stay away from the area and advising parents and guardians they would not be able to pick up students until further notice.

The order was lifted at around 1 p.m., said Gorman.

"The school is now back to normal operations," RCMP tweeted shortly after 1:30 p.m.

Not a lockdown

RCMP had initially reported the school, at 13 School St., was under a lockdown but tweeted a correction at 12:30 p.m., saying it was actually under a hold and secure order.

School activities continue as normal inside a school during a hold and secure order, with students and staff moving about freely, but the outer doors are locked and no one is allowed to enter or leave the building.

Lockdowns are used in more serious situations, when a threat is inside or very close to the school. During a lockdown, students are kept in classrooms or other designated areas, where access and visibility are restricted.

"Please be assured that Southern Victoria High School treats situations like this seriously to ensure student, teacher and staff safety at all times," Humphrey said.

"School administrators will remain vigilant in their efforts to make the school a safe place to learn and teach."

Southern Victoria High School has about 275 students in Grades 9 to 12, according to its website.