A 14-year-old girl is facing a charge in connection with one of several threats made to Hamilton schools in late May.
Hamilton police (HPS) say the accused was connected with a message left on school property at St. Jean de Brébeuf Catholic Secondary School near Upper Sherman and Rymal Road.
“She was charged with mischief and released on an undertaking,” Cst. Indy Bharaj said in release on Thursday.
“Police expect to make more arrests in the coming days.”
Bharaj said would not confirm whether the girl was a student, or not, from any public a school due her age and the possiblity of identifying the youth.
HPS have been “actively investigating” threats at a number of local schools in which messages have been scrawled on to bathroom stalls or other fixtures within school buildings.
Investigators say the messages have turned up at several Hamilton secondary and elementary schools across the city since the start of a probe into a shooting message left at Bishop Tonnos Secondary in Ancaster, Ont., last Friday.
School administrators at Bishop Tonnos alerted HPS to the note which suggested a shooting would take place at the facility June 3.
Another was found at Westdale Secondary School Wednesday afternoon.
Perry Mason, a former HPS school resource monitor, told Global News the antics are “not new” and says many similar calls have been made to authorities over the past 30-plus years.
“I was talking to a colleague of mine, who’s a retired vice principal, and between us, we couldn’t remember anything actually coming to fruition or happening,” Mason said.
During his time as a resource officer he says bomb threats were more the order of the day usually on a Friday afternoon or a day in which there were exams.
Matters typically are exacerbated in the current times due to the advent of social media heightening awareness of a threat.
“Nowadays they (police) have the same kinds of calls, it just sort of evolved from bomb threats to school shooters. Kids have more information, social media news.”
The challenge to investigating the occurrences typically revolves around anonymity of the perpetrators, however, arrests have been made over the years, according to Mason.
“Two things that’ll happen, it will be investigated by police as well as the school and have consequences in both places,” said Mason.
Parents have been asking questions in recent town halls initiated virtually by HPS this week in the hopes of reassuring guardians the threats pose a low-risk scenario.
“I don’t want to say that we don’t pay attention to it, and often there’s increased patrols,” Mason remarked.
“It’s responsibly investigated and taken seriously, but you need to take it with a grain of salt.”
Investigators are urging anyone with information on any of the occurrences to reach out to HPS or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers.