A lockdown Friday morning at two Langley schools was sparked by a threatening electronic communication, according to the Langley RCMP.
“All students and staff are safe,” a message from the school district said on Friday, May 5.
The lockdown was at Peter Ewart Middle and R.E. Mountain Secondary, which are adjacent to one another in the 7700 block of 202A Street.
At about 9:20 a.m., the RCMP received multiple reports of a threat that was originally thought to have been directed at the high school.
Students at the school received a threatening electronic communication, said Cpl. Craig Van Herk, spokesperson for the Langley RCMP. Multiple students showed the messages to parents, teachers, or school liaison officers, which sparked the police response.
Students at the school told the Langley Advance Times that they first saw the messages on Snapchat. The messages threatened “mass slaughter” on May 5.
Out of an abundance of caution, both R.E. Mountain and Peter Ewart were put under lockdown.
“All available officers responded to the area,” said Van Herk. He described it as an “exodus” from the RCMP detachment building, with every available officer from all over Langley heading to the schools, with help from neighbouring police departments being called up as well.
Parent Amy Jugpal, whose son attends Peter Ewart Middle, got a text message that said “There’s a lockdown, love you.”
“Receiving that message as a parent is pretty scary,” she said.
She spoke to her son by phone, and he was under his desk, with the lights off in his classroom, whispering.
That brief conversation left her shaken up and in tears.
According to students, the lockdown lasted for about 20 minutes.
Fortunately, the initial investigation showed that the messages were generic. They didn’t name any particular school or even a particular community, said Van Herk. There was no apparent connection to those particular schools.
RCMP officers cleared the schools and the lockdown was lifted before 10:20 a.m., when the Langley School District announced it was over.
An RCMP investigation into the origin of the threatening messages is ongoing. Van Herk said he could not say if it was a genuine threat or a prank of some kind yet.
School liaison officers were still on scene at both schools, Van Herk said.
After the incident, Jugpal said her son was so shaken up that he asked to go home for the rest of the day.
There have been similar incidents happening this week in other areas across North America.
REMSS & PEMS lockdown has been lifted. All students and staff are safe. RCMP on site investigating. A letter to families will follow. pic.twitter.com/xvbqXvVKsX— Langley Schools (@LangleySchools) May 5, 2023
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