Vanier College reportedly received online threats today that caused Police to establish that the school was secure. By noon, the Police had secured the Saint-Laurent school and Vanier college spokesperson Darren Becker said: "no lockdown took place."
However, several students are now speaking out saying that they were put in lockdown or were otherwise told to get out of the school, implying that not only were some classrooms put on lockdown, but others were also told to evacuate, and the school is attempting to imply the contrary.
TL;DR Police were dispatched to Vanier college after threats were made to the Montreal school. Students were reportedly told to hide or evacuate but the college has since made several claims that there was no lockdown or evacuation.
UPDATE 21-02-2019 @ 18h30: We have recently been in touch with a spokesperson from Vanier College who wanted to reiterate that while it is unclear what happened at the school earlier, the college's emergency procedures and protocols were followed without any issues today.
From our end, we are continuing to receive messages, pictures and videos from students who are confused, scared and entirely unsure what occurred at their school today.
While the school holds fast that there was no lockdown or evacuation, many students were told, either by teachers or security, that there was a threat on campus, hence the continued confusion.
It is important to keep in mind that if there is an ongoing investigation into the situation today, we will likely not receive details from the police until that investigation is closed.
For now, we can be grateful that no one was injured and that Vanier College was given this opportunity to reassess how staff and security can adapt their emergency procedures so that students are all given one uniform message in the face of a potential threat.
We received these messages from a student who wishes to remain anonymous, detailing their experience of the situation this morning.
"Lockdown at Vanier this morning! Security told us to stay in our classes till they contain the intruder cause he had a assault rifle but now the college is lying to the public and saying there was no lockdown."
When we inquired for more details, the student explained:
"Apparently there were online threats made but none of the staff and students were told anything. We saw cops circulating around campus and suddenly security was banging on our class door telling us to go into lockdown mode."
"They also told us there's an intruder on campus with a assault rifle so nobody was allowed to leave"
Vanier College posted the following update on their Facebook account after the incident to inform students and families of students that the "intervention" was "complete".
Students and others quickly began to comment on the post with very different accounts of the situation:
Commenters questioned why the college would attempt to make the situation seem less grave than it actually was.
One of the commenters makes a great point above, that everyone belongs to someone's family and to feel like you're being left in the dark when people's safety is at stake is even more unsettling.
I should take this time to say that it is possible that the College is doing what police instructed or perhaps just following their own public relations protocol... Even still, my heart goes out to these students who are clearly confused and very upset being left in the dark.
A Montreal police spokesperson has said the police are continuing their investigation to "track down the author of the threats."
Based on the comment below, the police are still on site at the school.
We will update you with any details that come to light throughout the afternoon.
If you have any details or insight on the issue, or anything going on around Montreal, never hesitate to reach out to us via Instagram @MTLblog.