Steinbach school closed after threats

Manitoba RCMP and the U.S. department of homeland security are investigating the source of threatening phone calls made to a Steinbach school this week.

Clearspring Middle School is operating remotely today, after administrators received two alarming phone calls from the same number on Wednesday and Thursday.

“In an abundance of caution, Clearspring Middle School will not be open to students/staff (Friday). To ensure student learning continues, the school will transition to remote learning for the day,” superintendent Shelley Amos said in an email to families Thursday.

RCMP Sgt. Paul Manaigre said the school received an initial threat at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, in which an unknown caller advised a student was going to be bringing a gun to school the next day.

The Steinbach detachment was alerted, and their investigation “did not reveal any credibility” to the threat, Manaigre said, noting the call is believed to have originated from the U.S.

A similar call from the same number received 24 hours later suggested action would be taken against the school on Friday.

“Although it is not believed that this second threat is any more credible, the school was closed today out of an abundance of caution,” Manaigre said in a statement.

The call was originally tracked to a residence in Menasha, Wis., but the town’s police unit followed up on the tip and ruled out the homeowners associated with the number, the RCMP spokesman said.

Manaigre added the caller would have used a false number when dialing the school over the internet, so their focus is on identifying the IP address associated with the call.

Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press