Meadow Lake schools evacuated
by Phil Ambroziak
Class ended a little earlier than expected for Meadow Lake students on Friday when threats received at three elementary schools resulted in a mass evacuation.
According to RCMP, Gateway Elementary, Jubilee Elementary and Lakeview Elementary each received threats by telephone from an unknown caller. The calls came in shortly after 1 p.m.
As a result of the threats, Northwest School Division (NWSD) officials decided to move Jubilee and Gateway students, as well as students from Jonas Samson Junior High School to the Lions Park hill.
“All students and staff (who were evacuated) were accounted for,” reported Natalie Gray of the RCMP ‘F’ Division communications unit.
NWSD communications officer Kaitlin Harman confirmed students from Transition Place Education Centre were also evacuated to Lions Park. Meanwhile, the NWSD put Carpenter High School and Lakeview Elementary on lockdown. Students from all schools were eventually dismissed shortly before 3 p.m.
“We kept parents and the public updated via the radio and social media,” Harman said. “We coordinated our buses to pick the students up at Lions Park. Once that was cleared up, we notified town parents to also come and pick up their children.”
Although the schools remained secured by police, parents of Lakeview students were asked to pick up their children on the northeast side of the school grounds while buses and parents also retrieved students at CHS.
Members from the Meadow Lake RCMP detachment remained at the schools Friday afternoon to determine if there was any cause for concern. The schools were thoroughly searched with a coordinated effort by the Meadow Lake RCMP, Loon Lake RCMP, Meadow Lake Police Dog Service and Saskatoon PDS. It was determined, however, no threats were actually present.
Police would not divulge the exact nature of the telephone threats, but continue to follow up on information surrounding the investigation. Classes resumed Tuesday.
“There have been occasional threats made in the past, but to have all the schools affected at one time is certainly a first,” Harman said.
Harman went on to say both school division staff and the RCMP handled the situation as best as could be hoped for.
“I think everyone did a great job of managing things,” she said. “Our staff and the RCMP responded quickly. This is definitely something we take seriously and everyone rose to the occasion.”
These sentiments were also shared by parents. Several posted their gratitude via the NWSD’s Twitter account while Meadow Lake resident Shelly Hammell – whose daughter, Savannah, attends Grade 4 at Jubilee – said teachers deserve a big thank you.
“What a great job they did on getting our children evacuated,” she said. “And, when I went to pick up my daughter at Lions Park, she didn’t even know why they were there. I think that was a good thing, so the kids wouldn’t be too scared.”