UPDATE: The Interior News has updated this article to include a response from SD82
School District 82 (SD82) has still not given any indication as to why a decision was made to place a number of schools under a hold and secure procedure on the morning of Feb. 6.
In a Feb. 6 letter posted online and sent to parents, the school indicated that a “generalized safety concern” was brought to their attention that morning.
“To ensure the safety of staff and students, a hold and secure procedure was put into place today at all Hazelton schools in the event of potential community situations occurring outside the schools and not related to schools,” the letter reads, adding that all staff and students are safe. The hold and secure status was lifted just before 2 p.m. on Feb. 6.
The Interior News reached out to Hazelton Secondary School (HSS) who told us no one at the school could comment on the matter and redirected us to SD82.
A number of solidarity events took place that day related to RCMP enforcement of an interlocutory injunction related to the dispute between hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en and Coastal GasLink.
That included a number of supporters of the hereditary chiefs blocking off a section of Highway 16 near Hazelton on Feb. 6.
Speculation and rumours abounded that this was the reason for the lockdown, but in an emailed response Acting Superintendent of Schools for SD82 Janet Meyer did not answer a question from the Interior News on what the specific “generalized safety concern” was that led to procedure.
“Given that School District personnel had very little information about the alleged threat, a decision was made to use a procedure called ‘Hold and Secure’ until such time as School District personnel could gather accurate information and make a determination of risk,” said Meyer.
She added that some parents chose to pick their children up from school during the procedure and that student safety remains their priority.
“School District personnel lifted the hold and secure at 1:55 p.m. on Feb. 6 after consultation with the RCMP and Safer Schools Together, when it was determined that the children were not at risk.”