The idea of school shootings are all too common place in modern times, even if they’re just a threat, but the threat of a school shooting here in Guelph? That’s enough just as an idea to create real concern. This was the case on Tuesday morning with the news from Guelph Police Service that they’ve taken a teen into custody in connection to a threatening message written on the wall of a bathroom at a Guelph school.
The media release from Guelph Police was direct and without much in the way of details.
“Staff from a school in the city’s south end contacted police late Monday afternoon. A message had been found on a bathroom wall threatening violence against students and teachers,” the release said. “Investigation led to the arrest Tuesday morning of a 17-year-old male. The investigation is ongoing but at this point there does not appear to be a safety concern at the school.”
A post on the Upper Grand District School Board website was equally terse.
“The board is aware of a concerning message that was posted in a bathroom of one of our secondary schools yesterday and was subsequently shared on social media,” it said. “We take this matter very seriously. The school and police are currently investigating to address this matter swiftly. Our students and staff are safe, and we will continue to work closely with the police on this serious matter.”
Information from official sources was scarce, but a social media post on Facebook revealed that the threatening message was found in a bathroom at College Heights, and even had a picture of the message (which you can see above). The message, which looks like it was written in a bathroom stall said, “I am going to shoot up the school on Dec. 15. I have a MAC-10 and a Glock 17. I am going to kill 12 teachers and 50 students.”
The rest of the message is hard to see to see because it looks like there was glare from a screen. The message also mentions pipe bombs and TNT, which could be a reference to the attack at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999. The perpetrators there were planning on blowing up a bomb in the school cafeteria and then shoot the survivors, but the bomb they created was a dud. It’s unknown how serious the teen charged for the College Heights threat was when he allegedly wrote the message.
However, parental concern about the possibility of violence at College Heights are not unfounded. Parents on Facebook noted an incident two years ago when there was a ‘hold and secure’ at the school due to a stabbing. One male student was taken into custody, and another was taken to the trauma centre for “serious but non-life threatening injuries.”
In the meantime, the police are continuing their investigation. If you have any information call Constable Mary Ellen McEwen at 519-824-1212, ext. 7174, or email her at mmcewen [at] guelphpolice.ca or get in touch with Constable James Nightingale at ext. 7281 or jnightingale [at] guelphpolice.ca. You can also leave an anonymous message at Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online at http://www.csgw.tips.
UPDATE – Wednesday December 1
Following up in Wednesday’s media release, Guelph Police Service announced that no charges have been laid in this incident. While a 17-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday and cautioned for mischief and uttering threats, his case was referring to the John Howard Society’s pre-charge diversion program instead of following through with criminal charges. The program involves volunteer work and other tasks to divert youth away from the criminal justice system.
Two different people were brought in over the threatening message. Another 17-year-old was questioned about the message and released without charges on Tuesday morning.