Police lock down 5 Ottawa schools in latest gunman hoax


The Padre
Oct 27, 2006
Police locked down five Ottawa schools Thursday after receiving a report about a gunman on school property that turned out to be yet another hoax.

It was latest batch of more than a dozen school lockdowns over the past month prompted by prank 911 calls.

Such incidents are frustrating school staff and students, as well as police, said Dan Wiseman, the safe-schools manager for the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.

People need to understand how gut-wrenching the situations are and how much fear they conjure up these days among those involved, he told CBC's Ottawa Morning on Friday.

The hoaxes come at a time when there have been a number of high-profile shootings at North American schools and colleges, including one that killed Grade 9 student Jordan Manners in a Toronto high school in May.

The incidents also put a strain on the city's police service, he added.

"You can imagine this is having a tremendous effect on their resources on an ongoing basis," Wiseman said, adding there is a very set procedure that police and school have to follow in response to such calls.

"It's a very well-orchestrated, well-practised, very intrusive, I might say, intervention," he said.

But it is necessary under the circumstances, he added, and despite the high number of false alarms, police and school officials can't and won't ignore or underrespond to such situations.

"The margin of error, when you're dealing with a life-threatening situation, is zero."

Wiseman said police are actively investigating the hoaxes, and the school board hopes parents, students or other members of the public will come forward with information about the incidents and who might be responsible.

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