Hammarskjold school closed again after 4th anonymous threat this week
This is the 12th threat in about two months
Police in Thunder Bay, Ont., say they are working closely with the OPP regarding the investigation into the numerous anonymous threats made against a north-side secondary school.
On Friday, students at Hammarskjold High School were forced to stay away from the school once again after the Thunder Bay Police Service received another threat.
This is the twelfth threat in about two months, and the fourth threat this week alone.
"On most of our complex investigations, we do reach out for assistance with other services," Thunder Bay Police Service detective inspector, Ryan Hughes explained. "The OPP have different units within their agency that can help us out with different aspects of the investigation."
He couldn't comment on exactly how the OPP are assisting the police as "this is an active investigation," however Hughes said that police have also reached out to other forces such as the RCMP and the Toronto Police Service for advice on this matter.
"We've held this back for awhile, but these are all Crime Stoppers tips that we are getting, so we are unable to identify who the tipster is," Hughes added, "it's very time consuming and difficult for us to try to identify ... but to this date, it's still Crime Stoppers tips that are coming in, they are anonymous and protected."
Up to the school board to 'take care of student safety'
Hughes said that as a police service, they respond to the threats, but it's up to the school board to decide if they want to open the school after officers have checked the scene.
"That's a Lakehead board decision whether to close the school or not. We again, just respond to the threats and we try to verify or conclude it," Hughes said.
He said officers are following up on all the tips that are coming through the dedicated tip line, which has been receiving, on average, about five tips a day.
"We are frustrated and there's officers and staff members that have children that go to Hammarksjold ... so it does affect the staff of Thunder Bay police as well as the teachers, the students and the community," Hughes explained. "It is extremely slow moving but there are a lot of steps the investigators have to follow to properly identify who's doing the tips."
The north-side school was also placed on a hold and secure on Thursday afternoon until transportation arrangements were made for students, at which time the school was closed for the rest of the day.
On Friday, school officials said that buses would be returning students home and students without keys will be dropped off at Superior CVI.
As a result of Friday's threat, St. Pius X Elementary School was also placed in hold and secure.
Anonymous threats closed Hammarskjold on Feb. 22, Feb.28, March 27, March 29, April 2, April 5, April 8, April 9, April 11 and April 12. A threat on April 4 restricted access to the school for about two hours, while on Feb. 13, officials also locked the high school down for about half a day.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Thunder Bay police tip line at 1 (807) 684-5001.