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UPDATE: RCMP still investigating Wednesday's threats to schools, colleges across Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

Brandon Forbes gives daughters Lilly, 7, and Molly, 5, a hug before they head into classes this morning at West Kent Elementary School in Charlottetown. Forbes says his children did not show any anxiety over returning to school following Wednesday's evacuation due to a bomb threat.
Brandon Forbes gives daughters Lilly, 7, and Molly, 5, a hug before they head into classes this morning at West Kent Elementary School in Charlottetown. Forbes says his children did not show any anxiety over returning to school following Wednesday's evacuation due to a bomb threat.

Students across Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia returned to classes this morning, the day after bomb threat hoaxes led to evacuations at all public schools on P.E.I. and all Nova Scotia Community College campuses. University of Prince Edward Island, Holland College and Cape Breton University campuses were also closed.

P.E.I. RCMP said the threat to detonate bombs in several Island schools was received by fax .

“It didn’t specify which schools, it did state that the bomb would be detonated,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Kevin Baillie said.

Sept. 22, Baillie told the Guardian P.E.I. RCMP's entire provincial major crime unit has joined forces with members of the RCMP’s federal investigation unit to investigate the threats.

Collaboration is also taking place with other jurisdictions that had similar threats made against schools in Winnipeg, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia on Wednesday and in Nunavut on Thursday.

“We have a very active investigation that is continuing now, following up a couple of leads,’’ Baillie said.

When pressed on the leads, however, Baillie conceded police have not had any success in determining the origin or author of a fax threatening bombs in multiple P.E.I. schools would be detonated Wednesday.

In Nova Scotia, Police and NSCC officials say the Sept. 21 threat came in at about 7:50 a.m. and no bombs were found. They would not indicate if the threat came in by phone, social media or other communication measure.  Campuses in Sydney, Halifax and Annapolis County were the first to be evacuated, with all NSCC campuses closing midday as a precaution.

There was also one threat to a school in Newfoundland.

By late Wednesday, all institutions had the all clear to return to class.

TIMELINE: Schools across Atlantic Canada impacted by alleged bomb threats

MORE COVERAGE: Police investigate alleged threats at multiple Atlantic Canadian schools

The mass evacuation of students on P.E.I. included more than 19,000 students from more than 60 English and French schools who were removed to designated areas and then returned to their parents.

Parker Grimmer, director of the P.E.I.'s Public Schools Branch, said he was pleased with how the evacuation went, but there was room for improvement on evacuation sites and communication with bus drivers. His department met Thursday to debrief the evacuation process.

 

Island teachers have been praised for their calm response to the unusual day.

Bethany MacLeod, president of the P.E.I. Teachers Federation, told TC Media teachers dealt with the crisis in a professional manner.

She has heard many reports of teachers “being very calm in what could have been a panic situation.’’

Despite the Sept. 21 Doug Burton told the Guardian he was not apprehensive returning his seven-year-old daughter to West Kent Elementary School in Charlottetown this morning.

“The RCMP said it was not a credible threat so I’m sure they have reasons for that,’’ he says.

Jan Henry, a Summerside-based registered social worker, told the Journal Pioneer such a  calm approach by parents to the situation would be key to children coping with any fears around the evacuations.

“What we know from (9/11) is that parents allowing the children to hear the information over and over again or view something in regards to the information increases the impact of the trauma,” Henry said. “Here is an event that could be traumatic for children, but doesn’t have to be, as long as the parents manage it.”

P.E.I. RCMP said the threat to detonate bombs in several Island schools was received by fax .

“It didn’t specify which schools, it did state that the bomb would be detonated,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Kevin Baillie said.

Sept. 22, Baillie told the Guardian P.E.I. RCMP's entire provincial major crime unit has joined forces with members of the RCMP’s federal investigation unit to investigate the threats.

Collaboration is also taking place with other jurisdictions that had similar threats made against schools in Winnipeg, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia on Wednesday and in Nunavut on Thursday.

“We have a very active investigation that is continuing now, following up a couple of leads,’’ Baillie said.

When pressed on the leads, however, Baillie conceded police have not had any success in determining the origin or author of a fax threatening bombs in multiple P.E.I. schools would be detonated Wednesday.

In Nova Scotia, Police and NSCC officials say the Sept. 21 threat came in at about 7:50 a.m. and no bombs were found. They would not indicate if the threat came in by phone, social media or other communication measure.  Campuses in Sydney, Halifax and Annapolis County were the first to be evacuated, with all NSCC campuses closing midday as a precaution.

There was also one threat to a school in Newfoundland.

By late Wednesday, all institutions had the all clear to return to class.

TIMELINE: Schools across Atlantic Canada impacted by alleged bomb threats

MORE COVERAGE: Police investigate alleged threats at multiple Atlantic Canadian schools

The mass evacuation of students on P.E.I. included more than 19,000 students from more than 60 English and French schools who were removed to designated areas and then returned to their parents.

Parker Grimmer, director of the P.E.I.'s Public Schools Branch, said he was pleased with how the evacuation went, but there was room for improvement on evacuation sites and communication with bus drivers. His department met Thursday to debrief the evacuation process.

 

Island teachers have been praised for their calm response to the unusual day.

Bethany MacLeod, president of the P.E.I. Teachers Federation, told TC Media teachers dealt with the crisis in a professional manner.

She has heard many reports of teachers “being very calm in what could have been a panic situation.’’

Despite the Sept. 21 Doug Burton told the Guardian he was not apprehensive returning his seven-year-old daughter to West Kent Elementary School in Charlottetown this morning.

“The RCMP said it was not a credible threat so I’m sure they have reasons for that,’’ he says.

Jan Henry, a Summerside-based registered social worker, told the Journal Pioneer such a  calm approach by parents to the situation would be key to children coping with any fears around the evacuations.

“What we know from (9/11) is that parents allowing the children to hear the information over and over again or view something in regards to the information increases the impact of the trauma,” Henry said. “Here is an event that could be traumatic for children, but doesn’t have to be, as long as the parents manage it.”

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