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North Bay police investigating incident that triggered high school lockdown

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There were some tense moments in North Bay on Friday after information that a weapon was possibly at a local high school prompted a lockdown and police response.

"At approximately 11:36 a.m. today, we were made aware of a potential weapon in the school by North Bay Police Service (NBPS), who issued a lockdown for the school," West Ferris Secondary said in a letter to families posted on social media just after 1 p.m. Dec. 8.

The Near North District School Board announced the school was in lockdown at about 11:45 a.m. on Facebook.

"Police are on site. For their safety, do not call or text your child. Do not call or attend the school. Communication will be sent once lockdown is lifted," the social media post said.

Dozens of concerned parents flocked to the comment section of a post on a North Bay crime watch group, some stating their children who were at the school were scared.

"As a parent, this is so scary, updates should be available as to WHAT is going on. The fact our kids need to know these drills is horrifying and when they happen, it's even more. I personally only had fire drills in school," Phoenix May said.

"Seeing that people have been contacting their children and posting about contacting them, I want to just say, 'I am glad nothing happened and I understand people's worries for their children, however, if something was going on and the noises caused by texting/calling got someone hurt or worse, are you guys who are posting about contacting your children after being asked not to prepared to handle those types of consequences?' Just some food for thought," James Bertrand said.

North Bay police said the lockdown at the school on Marshall Park Drive had been lifted, in a news release about an hour later.

"The lockdown was put in place out of an abundance of caution in relation to information that was received about the school earlier today," Staff Sgt. Brad Reaume is quoted as saying in the news release.

"The North Bay Police Service is investigating the incident and there is no danger to the public or any students or staff at this time. We take every threat to public safety seriously and we have determined that there is no further risk to any staff or students."

In its letter to families from principal Gillian Kajganich, the school said police "investigated and determined that there was no threat to West Ferris Secondary and were able to lift the lockdown approximately 17 minutes later."

No students or staff were injured in the incident.

Classes and transportation will continue as usual and the school will remain open for the rest of the day.

"We understand that some students will be upset and negatively impacted by today's events," the school said.

"To assist, crisis supports are available at the school to support anyone who may be struggling because of this incident."

Support can also be accessed through:

  • Hands Mental Health Crisis Line for children, youth, parents and caregivers 24/7 1-844-287-9072
  • Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868, text TALK to 686868, or live chat with a counsellor from 7 p.m. to midnight at www.kidshelpphone.ca

"If you did not receive a call and/or email from school messenger regarding this incident, please complete the CASL form to receive communication from the school and school board," the letter said.

"We thank you for your patience as we worked to keep everyone safe … We are very thankful to our staff for their work in keeping our students safe, calm and supported throughout this event."

No charges laid after student suspect found off campus with a pellet gun.

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