Some confused over ‘hold and secure’

Threat response went smoothly TLDSB says

By Jenn Watt

Dec. 20 2016

As word spread through the many communities served by Trillium Lakelands District School Board that a threat had come in on Dec. 16 there was confusion over what response the board was taking.

While the terminology of “hold and secure” was being put out by board communications staff many believed the schools were in “lockdown” said communications manager Catherine Shedden.

Unlike a lockdown which asks students to move away from doors and windows and lock the classroom doors a hold and secure is not as invasive. Classes continue as usual but the exterior doors of the schools are locked to stop anyone from leaving or coming in.

“For a hold and secure we typically share information first with our staff then on social media and our website and then as a media release” Shedden said in an email to the paper.

“As soon as we put our schools into a hold and secure we sent key messages to our secretaries so that they could respond to parent phone calls.”

Later that day letters were sent home with elementary school students and automated emails and phone calls went to parents.

Shedden said there haven’t been any rehearsals of hold and secure in the past but that the board had procedures and policies in place and they were adhered to.

“These situations are always a good opportunity to review procedures and to educate staff students and parents on what to do in the case of a hold and secure or a lockdown” she said.

Shedden would not comment on the text of the threat which allegedly came from a 16-year-old Gravenhurst boy via Twitter. She would only say it was a serious generalized threat.

The board has never been threatened like this in the past she said.

Police continue to investigate the incident though they have charged the youth with mischief and uttering threats. Any information can be directed to the Bracebridge OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.