One arrested after online threats made to students at Carman Collegiate

Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (File photo)

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Throughout the day and into the evening of Tuesday, December 18, 2018, Manitoba RCMP investigated three separate reports of social media threats in three Manitoba communities including Carman, Man.

“The moment there is a reported threat toward a school, individuals or an entire school like Carman Collegiate, there will be a response,” said Prairie Rose School Division Superintendent, Terry Osiowy. “In this situation, there was a report to the RCMP and they proceeded with their investigation. When they had the individual in custody they advised the school principal about it and then they notify us as a division.”

At approximately 8 p.m., on December 18, Carman RCMP received a report of social media threats made toward students of Carman Collegiate. Officers responded to the threats in question and arrested a male youth from Carman with charges pending. The suspect arrested is a student at the school.

No other details are available at this time.

“Because the RCMP had the individual in custody it’s a different type of reaction because they did not feel the building was under any threat at that time,” said Osiowy. “If there were threats and they did not have people in custody we would have gone through a very different procedure and probably locked down of the school pending the kind of nature of the threats. We may have done something similar to that of Selkirk and just not allowed students to come to school that day in the community of Carman.”

Osiowy feels threats of any kind to students, staff or a school have always been taken seriously and that will continue.

“It has never been something we have taken lightly,” stated Osiowy. “Our number one responsibility is the safety of staff and students at our facilities. We have to respond to it actively. I was quite impressed with how quickly the RCMP detachment acted and that’s comforting from my perspective that they did respond so quickly.”

He adds things would be a lot different had the threats been made during the day and that the division would act to notify parents ASAP in the event of a lockdown scenario taking place at any school inside the Prairie Rose School Division.

The Manitoba RCMP reminds parents and guardians to speak to their children about social media responsibility. It is also an opportunity to speak to their children about what to do if they see an online threat.

“Talk to you children about what they are doing and saying online. Remind them that their actions on social media can have serious consequences and can lead to criminal charges,” said Corporal Julie Courchaine of the Manitoba RCMP. “If your children see something concerning online, ensure they know to immediately alert you, to contact police, or notify a teacher.”

There were two other reports of online threats that Manitoba RCMP responded to on December 18. Thompson RCMP received a report of social media threats being made towards students of R.D. Parker Collegiate in Thompson, while Beausejour RCMP received a report of social media threats made towards students of École Edward Schreyer School.