A case of mistaken identity on social media forced the closure of Beaconsfield High School on Tuesday.
Police were contacted early in the morning when a mass shooting threat made against a ‘BHS’ began circulating on social media.
“Warning: SCHOOL SHOOTING SCHEDULED 4TH BLOCK @BHS… ITS GONNA BE WORTH IT,” the original post, dated September 10th, reads. “MY GOAL IS 20-30 STUDENTS DEAD. (Run, I Love A Good Hunt.)
The order to close the school was posted to the Lester B. Pearson’s website just before 9 a.m., and board spokesperson Jim Hendry confirmed that parents were sent a message.
But some students had already arrived at school.
Mirren Bodanis came in early - around 8:30 a.m. - to help a friend with a project, when the Code Red was announced.
The group of about six students locked themselves in a classroom, thinking it was just a drill - until they noticed school buses turning around and leaving.
"Then the police cars started pulling up, and we really started freaking out," Bodanis said.
"I was pretty spooked- I was thinking this shouldn't happen here, this is Canada - this is not stuff that we have," he added. "We were all trying to keep each other calm. We actually started using white boards to communicate because we didn't want to make a lot of noise. Everyone was freaking out."
Police conducted an investigation on-scene, and later confirmed that the threat was "unfounded."
The event is unfounded.— Police Montréal (@SPVM) September 11, 2018
Upon further investigation , it was established that the wording of the threat matched one made earlier this week against Brunswick High School in Glynn Country, Georgia.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested for allegedly circulating the threat via AirDrop, a social media app on Apple phones.
According to The Brunswick news, the boy was charged with making terroristic threats, and the disruption of a public school – though school officials told the newspaper that it was an “empty threat.”
Montreal police believe the tweet was re-circulated among teens in the West Island, causing a palpable stir.
For the moment, however, police say there is not threat to staff and students of Beaconsfield High School.
Classes are expected to resume tomorrow.
When a school threat on social media disrupts not one but two schools-thousands of km apart you have a story. Thankfully no one was hurt in either but it set off nerves at @BeaconsfieldHS and resulted in an arrest at Brunswick HS in Georgia. @CTVMontreal— CarolineVanV (@CarolineVanVCTV) September 11, 2018