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UPDATE: Threat closes Hammarskjold and Superior high schools

Lakehead Public School Board is offering online academic and mental health supports to students and staff at Hammarskjold; police confirm a single anonymous threat directed at both Hammarskjold and Superior was delivered in the same way as previous threats

THUNDER BAY -- An anonymous threat resulted in the closure of both Hammarskjold High School and Superior Collegiate and Vocational Institute Tuesday morning.  

This is the 10th time an anonymous threat has been received against Hammarskjold this school year, the fifth time in the past two weeks. It's the first threat received against Superior. 

According to Thunder Bay Police Service, a single threat directed at both schools was received by police and delivered in the same way as previous threats. 

“It’s not even about Hammarskjold or even now Superior,” Lakehead Public School Board spokesperson Bruce Nugent said. “This is a community issue. We’re all facing this issue. You look at the number of students and staff from both schools. They’re citizens of our community and both schools play a huge role in our community.”

Students at Superior said they were surprised to learn Tuesday morning that their school was the subject of an anonymous threat. 

"We didn't think it would happen here," said Grade 12 student Jill. "They just said get out, we gotta go."

Frustration is mounting for students at Hammarskjold who say they just want to go to class. The Lakehead Public School Board said there are no plans to extend the school year at this point to make up for the lost days. 

But students at Superior are worried that more anonymous threats will be directed at their school like Hammarskjold. 

"I just want to go to school," said Grade 12 student Matthew. "I don't want it to be prolonged any longer than it has to be."

"I want to graduate," Jill added. "I can't graduate if I don't go to school."

Both Jill and Matthew said they have not heard any rumors or talk among the student body about who might be doing this or why. 

Nugent said school board officials are working to develop plans to help minimize the disruption to class time that has been caused by the multiple closures.

“We have great program staff who are working at this very moment with Hammarskjold staff to look at ways of helping students, particularly those students in Grade 12,” Nugent said. “(They’re) looking at ways of hosting lessons online and helping students get through those lessons. They’re working very hard to be able to support the students.”

The School Board has set up online supports for students and staff at Hammarskjold through two online portals that can be found on the Lakehead Public School Board website. 

Mental health supports have also been set up to assist students, staff, and families who have been impacted by the continuous threats. Links to resources can also be found on the Lakehead Public School Board website. 

On Monday, Police asked the public for patience as the investigation into the threats is ongoing and continue to encourage anyone with knowledge about the specifics of the threat to contact police directly at the dedicated tip line, 684-5001.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation District 6A has donated $1,000 in reward money to the school board, which is already offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible. Crime Stoppers is also offering a $1,000 reward. 

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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