Calgary police are at Notre Dame High School in the northwest Monday, calming fears about a reported threat to the school that spiraled out of control on social media.
Worried parents called in after hearing rumours about a possible shooting.
“We received information on the weekend, through third and fourth party information at a hockey game of all places that somebody was going to come in and shoot up the school. What ended up happening is kids were passing on the Snapchat, social media information, and as that gained momentum, they were changing the wording,” Staff Sgt. Ralph Veckenstedt said.
Police quickly determined the threat was not credible in any way.
“As the Snapchat started continuing, they changed it from ‘what would happen if there was a shooting?’ to ‘there is going to be a shooting’,” Veckenstedt said.
Investigators say the rumours started after someone shot a paintball gun at a window on Thursday and bear spray was set off the following day, which may have involved students from another school.
Unfortunately, he says they are seeing more and more cases in Calgary schools of fear being perpetuated on social media
Veckenstedt says they partner with the schools to educate students.
“So it’s constant messaging, it’s educating with the staff and, anytime a school needs anything, we’ll send some subject matter, experts to be able to talk about cybercrime, cyberbullying and the pitfalls related to that,” said Veckenstedt.
Anyone on social media who sees a threat or rumour of impending violence is asked not to share it, but instead to take it to an authority figure like a school official or police.
If a threat were credible, he says they would close or lock down a school.