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'Leaves you scared and helpless': Guelph parent concerned by online threats determined not credible by police


The Guelph Police Service says it has investigated online threats targeting local school communities and does not believe them to be credible.

In a media release Thursday morning, police said on Wednesday evening, they heard from many residents about social media posts “apparently aimed at local students.”

Police said the posts included a photo of firearms.

The photo has been determined to be a stock photo from the internet and does not depict firearms in anyone’s possession locally, according to police.

Earlier this week, police said they were involved in an investigation of similar online threats. Police said a youth was identified as being responsible for those posts and he has been spoken to by officers.

“He has been determined not to represent a danger to the public,” police said.

After thorough investigation, police believe the threatening posts circulating on social media on Wednesday night are related to the earlier investigation.

“As such, they also do not represent a credible threat to public safety,” police said.

Police said the current investigation is ongoing with cooperation of local school boards.

“Should further information come to light which suggests a risk to the community, the public and school boards will be notified,” police said.

Guelph police spokesperson Scott Tracey said dozens of people called their communication centre expressing concern.

Tracey said in this instance, the teen believed to be responsible for the posts on Monday, was diverted to a remedial program instead of being charged due to his age and lack of prior record.

Police said the investigation is what led them to believe the Wednesday posts did not present a danger to the public.

“Sort of find out what the motivation was. Whether they have access to weapons. Why they did it. That kind of thing,” Tracey told CTV News.


According to a message posted on the website of the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB), police officers will be making increased visits to local high schools on Thursday.

The school board said they understand how concerning these situations are for families.

“Please know that we take every incident of threats such as this very seriously and work with police to investigate each one thoroughly to bring those responsible to account,” the message said.

The same message was posted on the Wellington Catholic District School Board’s website.

Brent McDonald, the executive superintendent of school operations with the UGDSB, urged students to contact an adult or trusted official immediately if they spot concerning social media posts.

“So that we can respond appropriately and not cause undo panic, but really look into how concerning a threat may or may not be,” McDonald said.


Guelph mother of four, Kristie Angst, said her five and seven year old stayed home on Thursday out of an abundance of caution.

“You’d never forgive yourself. If something happened,” she said. ““We just had a fun day. Got our mind off things.”

Angst said waking up to the email from the public school board was alarming.

“[It] leaves you scared and helpless,” Angst said.

The UGDSB said there are online learning platforms available for those who choose remote learning during this time.


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