An anonymous bomb threat that shut down Semiahmoo Secondary Tuesday is now being treated as a “public mischief investigation,” according to Surrey RCMP.
The school was back to running normally on Wednesday and Surrey RCMP spokesman Cpl. Bert Paquet said extensive examination of the school by the emergency response team had turned up no evidence of a bomb.
“There was no device found, and nothing jeopardizing student and staff safety,” he said.
The investigation is now in the hands of the Surrey RCMP Youth Section.
“We’re following up on some leads,” he said, adding that, while they’re not divulging details, the evidence police are looking at “definitely has to do with the means by which the threat was conveyed.”
Police were alerted that a bomb threat had been received shortly before 10:30 a.m.,Tuesday, in a call from school principal Bea Hadikin.
Students and staff were evacuated immediately, and students were subsequently advised they were being sent home, as investigators and the emergency response team continued to investigate.
“It’s in the hands of the fire and police personnel to do their sweeps of the school,” Surrey School District spokesperson Doug Strachan commented later in the morning, confirming that all staff and students had been evacuated and were on their way home.
Officials were reportedly searching areas surrounding the school, located at 1785 148 St.
Shortly after 11 a.m., various emergency personnel could be seen walking toward a wooded area just east of the school building.
Vehicle and pedestrian access to 148 Street between 17 Avenue and 20 Avenue was also closed off during Tuesday morning, Paquet said.
Fire crews assisted for a time, he said, and police were in contact with the RCMP explosive-disposal unit.
Although it’s now being looked at as a case of public mischief, Paquet noted that bomb threats are always taken “extremely seriously.”
“A risk-assessment was done based on the information we had at the time,” he added.
“It was serious enough that, for obvious safety reasons, the officers attending evacuated the school and sent all students, teachers and staff home for the remainder of the day.”
By midday, the Semiahmoo Secondary website was reporting the site had been cleared and was “deemed safe” by police.
– with files from Nick Greenizan