RCMP explains reasons behind lockdown at Woodstock High School

by | Feb 9, 2024

Police based its decision on the fear that an armed youth may target someone at school

The RCMP and Woodstock Police Force based their decision to lock down Woodstock High School on Thursday afternoon, Feb. 8, on maximum caution, explained Sgt. Dan Sharpe, commanding officer of the Western Valley Region Detachment of the West District RCMP.

Sharpe explained the situation began with a report that a youth stole a firearm from a family member.

He said the family member expressed fear the youth may head to Woodstock High School.

Sharpe said the family explained the suspect youth had a previous altercation with someone at the school about a year ago.

“We had no direct information or evidence that he was heading there,” Sharpe explained.

To exercise maximum caution, he said the RCMP shared the information with the Woodstock Police Force, and together they decided to secure the building.

Although the person with whom the youth had the previous altercation no longer attended Woodstock High School, Sharpe said the police and school chose to enact the safety protocols to ensure everyone’s safety.

He said the youth, somewhat confused by the perceived threat towards the school, turned himself in to the police.

Sharpe said the police expect to lay charges soon.

Woodstock Deputy Chief Mark Bennett said the RCMP hold responsibility for investigating the case, but the two forces often work together to protect the community.

Both he and Sharpe praised the excellent working relationship between the two forces.

The school lockdown began in the early afternoon on Thursday, Feb. 8, with the Woodstock Police Force and Woodstock High School posting social media messages shortly after 2 p.m. explaining the situation.

The Woodstock Police Force explained the situation in more detail in a later press release.

“Acting on information provided by the RCMP, the Woodstock Police, in consultation with the Woodstock High School, deemed it necessary to initiate a precautionary lockdown at the Woodstock High School,” the WPF explained. “Prioritizing the safety of students and staff, the lockdown was upheld as the situation evolved, eventually transitioning to a hold and secure protocol. Once the matter was resolved safely, the hold and secure measures were lifted.”

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