Ponoka high school put in hold and secure protocol due to threat of violence

Students and staff at Ponoka Secondary Campus went into hold and secure protocol mid-morning Friday that lasted until classes ended at 3:25 p.m. 

RCMP said school officials decided to take the preventative measure over word about a possible fight planned to take place at the school.

According to police, on Feb. 22 two groups of males met in the street and had an altercation. Twelve males were arrested and five people were charged with offences included mischief, uttering threats and possession of a weapon.

On Friday, four additional arrests were made. Several of those charged in relation to the case are youth. 

Police confirmed that the incident is related to the hold and secure at the event.

In a written statement, the superintendent of the Wolf Creek Public School division refers to an incident that took place after school hours and off school property. 

Jayson Lovell said it involved students from Ponoka Secondary Campus and was posted on social media. 

“Such content and behaviour is disturbing and disheartening,” Lovell wrote. 

RCMP confirmed they have launched a criminal investigation into a pair of videos that were posted online. Cpl. Deanna Fontaine said they include threats and comments that may fall under hate crimes legislation. 

“The social media fall out from this overall situation has been unfortunate and resulted in some people not involved in either investigation to become targets of harassment,” police said in a statement. “Police are asking people to refrain from vigilante actions and remind that any comments made or actions take that are criminal in nature will be investigated accordingly.”

Chief Craig Makinaw of the Ermineskin Cree Nation described the videos a “vulgar display of racism”. He said they depict a group of white youths threatening and mocking an unnamed Indigenous person or persons. 

Mackinaw urged band members not to retaliate. 

“Do not seek retribution,” he wrote. “These young men are clearly hurting if they feel the need to lash out.” 

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