The Surrey School District offered reassurances of student safety on Thursday morning, following the discovery of graffiti on the grounds of Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary School (LTSS) that contained a threat to the well-being of staff and students.
On Wednesday afternoon, parents of LTSS students took to social media alleging that graffiti had been found on the school grounds threatened a shooting would occur at the school on Feb. 1.
Surrey School District Communications Services Manager Doug Strachan said that the school was made aware of the graffiti and promptly consulted with Surrey RCMP, Surrey Safe Schools and “threat assessment experts” before determining that the graffiti was not a credible threat.
On Thursday morning (Feb. 1), members of the RCMP were on the school property, which prompted a resurgence of fears for safety.
The presence of RCMP at the school this morning was designed to be “a reassurance,” said Strachan. “We knew that some of the community had seen [the graffiti] and were aware of it. We thought that a police presence would be a further signal that things were okay.”
Strachan noted that “ironically,” it had the opposite effect, as parents began to question why there was a police presence if there was no threat.
Strachan said that the information, including the details of what the graffiti threatened, was not shared with parents or the media as the school district did not wanted to cause “unwarranted fear.” Neither did the school administration wish to “reward the behaviour” by spotlighting it within the community.
Strachan emphasized that the Surrey School District would always communicate any potential threat to safety if it was warranted.
“Student and staff safety is our priority,” he said. “We would take decisive action if there was a real risk to safety.”