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Police recover pellet gun, take two students into custody

February 13, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Wendy Gabrek

On Tuesday, February 4, at 1 p.m., students at Banting Memorial High School in Alliston were locked in classrooms and change rooms while rumours circulated about a potential “school shooter.”

As posts to social media began to flood the phones of concerned parents, students waited for almost two hours to find out what was actually happening in their school halls, while members of the Nottawasaga Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) surrounded the building with automatic riffles.

Police were alerted to a potential threat at the school, when witnesses described a suspect threaten another student with a handgun and then conceal that weapon in another male’s backpack.

The Vice Principal was notified and the school was placed into lockdown. 

Police later arrested two male students and located a pellet gun resembling a .357 handgun.   

Later that day, Banting Memorial Principal Alberto Bernardi released the following email to parents of affected students:

Dear Banting Families,

I am writing to make you aware of a situation that affected our school today. This afternoon we were made aware of a potential threat to student and staff safety. We contacted the Nottawasaga detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and initiated our lockdown procedure at about 1 p.m. The lockdown was initiated as a precaution to keep everyone safe.

A lockdown means that all interior doors were locked, and students and staff were on the floor in their classrooms or the library, and all blinds were drawn. These precautions are standard practice during any lockdown.

We were in lockdown until approximately 2:40 p.m. while police responded to the school. They identified that a student was in possession of a pellet gun. Two youths were taken into custody. The OPP continue to investigate. When the lockdown ended, the school day was over and students were dismissed.

I want you to know that we will always take whatever precautions are necessary to keep our students and staff safe. I’m proud of the way our students dealt with the situation today, and I thank our local police for their support.

As always, please call me at the school if you have questions.”

Alberto Bernardi

An investigation is ongoing and the names of the youth involved will not be released due to provisions contained in the Youth Criminal Justice Act. 


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