A West Kelowna parent says she has heard positive feedback from other parents for her decision to post a threat of violence against Mount Boucherie Secondary students on social media.
Nicole Day said she first heard of the threat from her son while driving him home from his baseball practice late Wednesday afternoon.
He told her other kids were posting photos on Snapchat of the graffiti threat written on a unisex bathroom wall at MBSS, which stated: “I will shoot up MBSS Friday May 13. Happy death day. I am not joking.”
It left both of them wondering if he should go to school today or Friday.
“I thought it was better to be safe than sorry and get this information out to our (Parents Against Bullying) Facebook page which has about 360 parent members who have had ongoing concerns about school bullying issues at MBSS, and Constable Neil Bruce Middle as well,” said Day.
Day also contacted the school principal and received a School Messenger email service response saying students had alerted school officials to the threat and it was being investigated.
Other parents contacted the RCMP directly, while word also circulated among school staff and trustees at the board of education meeting on Wednesday.
By the time the meeting ended, Central Okanagan Public Schools Superintendent/CEO Kevin Kaardal was fielding inquiries from local media about the threat.
Day said she felt obligated to alert other parents to what she had learned from her son.
“If I had not shared that information and something were to happen, I would not have been able to forgive myself,” Day said.
“My intent and that of others was not to get people riled up, but just out of genuine concern.
“We had a scare like this two years ago at the same school, where a list was circulating with kids’ names on it.”
Day said she and her husband had a discussion Wednesday night about whether or not to allow their sons to attend school Thursday or Friday, and she says other parents likely had similar conversations.
“If we do find out this was a joke, then some sort of harsh punishment should be given to the person responsible. Parents are losing sleep over this and it is not fair, especially if it is a joke,” she said.
In a statement released late Wednesday evening after the board of education meeting, Kaardal said: “We take every threat seriously and work systematically through our protocol to determine level of risk/ threat.
“We have protocols tailored to our school district based on the latest information and research available.”
Those protocols include alerting the RCMP and activating the school violence crisis response team, which works with Safe Schools B.C., to investigate the threat.
Kaardal said the level of supervision at the school this week has been intensified and West Kelowna RCMP will have a presence at the school site Friday.
While there are not video cameras in school bathrooms, Kaardal said the school district tends to get to the bottom of such incidents and identify the perpetrator.