Windsor parents questioning why board didn't alert them of high school threat

A threatening image circulating online appearing to target Walkerville Collegiate Institute sent waves of panic through the hallways Tuesday morning.

Windsor police determined it was a false alarm as it was an old threat

Tara Charbonneau quickly picked up her two kids from Walkerville Collegiate Institute after learning there was a potential threat. (Katerina Georgeiva/CBC)

A threatening image circulating online appearing to target Walkerville Collegiate Institute sent waves of panic through the hallways Tuesday morning, prompting Windsor police to show up to the school.

Police and school board officials determined the image was an old threat, therefore a false alarm.

Parents are now questioning why this information wasn't communicated to them sooner. Some found out through a text from their teens, who were already at school.

"I text my mom and I tell her. She's like 'get your brother, I'm going to come pick you guys up' because I don't feel safe here right now," said Kiara Egan, a Grade 12 student at Walkerville Collegiate.

Kiara Egan, a Grade 12 student at Walkerville Collegiate, said she didn't feel safe after learning of a threat at her high school. (Katerina Georgeiva/CBC)

That sent her mother Tara Charbonneau into a panic.

"It was very scary. My heart was pounding on the way there. I barely had my boots on and I rushed all the way there," said Charbonneau.

CBC News is aware of at least one other parent who picked up their kids from school early due to the threat.

Parents previously questioned school board

And this isn't the first time parents have taken issue with how the school board communicates incidents.

Last month, parents at Massey Secondary School questioned why the school board didn't alert them about a firearms incident. They found out about it through the news media.

There was a police presence at Walkerville Collegiate Institute Tuesday due to a threat that was later determined to be a false alarm. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

At the time, school administration said it kept communication to a minimum.

"There [are] some questions, but not very many. So administrators are keeping a lid on it as well as the staff, in terms of what that looks like," said superintendent Sharon Pyke. 

"They are not engaging in any conversation. It is a police matter," she said.

Board stands by decision

The Greater Essex County District School Board tells CBC News that it stands by how it handled the situation.

Public school board chairperson Ron LeClair said there was no threat, which is why parents weren't notified. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

Board chair and trustee Ron LeClair said all threats are taken seriously. And after consulting with police, the board felt students and staff were safe.

"The level of the identified threat was not credible and out of an abundance of caution police were there to alleviate those fears, so students shouldn't have felt that sense of fear," said LeClair.

"I understand that some people react differently in the circumstances, but I'm satisfied that based on the information ... we acted appropriately for the student body," he added.

Public school board administration said it has received a few calls of concern around this issue, and they'll be speaking to families directly.


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