Update: No weapon or threat detected after Kingston Secondary School placed on lockdown

Police cruises at Kingston Secondary School (KSS) on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. Photo by Cris Vilela/Kingstonist.

Editorial note: This article has been updated since it was originally published on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023, at 1:47 p.m. Please see bottom of article for latest updated information.

Kingston’s newest high school, located in the Kingscourt neighbourhood, has gone into lockdown as of 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023.

“Oct. 11, 2023, 1:19 p.m.: Kingston Secondary School is in lockdown. Molly Brant in Hold & Secure. All students and staff are safe. Please do not go to the schools at this time. Families to receive direct message. We will provide updates as we are able,” the Limestone District School Board (LDSB) stated on X (formerly Twitter).

According to parents of students inside the school, the students have been advised the incident is not a drill. All doors at the school have been locked, all lights turned off, and students are currently within their classrooms, some reportedly under their desks.

At 1:31 p.m., the board posted to X, “Oct. 11, 2023: The lockdown at Kingston Secondary School and Hold & Secure at Molly Brant ES have been lifted. All students and staff are safe.”

LDSB has not indicated the cause of this incident, however, Kingstonist has received reports that a student, or possibly multiple students, was threatening to use a weapon. Those reports have not been confirmed.

Kingstonist has reached out to Kingston Police and the LDSB for further information. No response was received by time of publication.

This is a developing story. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

Schools are placed on hold and secure when there is a threat in the general vicinity of a school, but not on or near school property. This involves outer doors being locked, and no one being able to enter or exit the school, however, regular school activity continues. Lockdowns are used in more serious situations that involve a threat inside or very close to the school. In a lockdown situation, students are kept in classrooms or other designated spots away from the threat, ensuring access to and visibility of students are minimized.

Update (Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023 at 2:25 p.m.):
Kingston Police responded to a call at Kingston Secondary School (KSS) at approximately 1:05 p.m., according to Constable Ash Gutheinz, Media Relations Officer for Kingston Police.

“The school was briefly locked down however this lockdown has since been lifted,” Gutheinz said in an email to Kingstonist.

“There is an ongoing investigation and police wish to advise that there are no safety concerns for students and faculty on site or members of the general public.”

Kingstonist has inquired as to the reason Kingston Police were called to the high school, which is located on Kirkpatrick Street in the city’s Kingscourt neighbourhood. Molly Brant Elementary School, located on Lyons Street, was placed on hold and secure while KSS was in lockdown. The two schools back onto the same football field.

Update (Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023, at 4:35 p.m.):
In response to Kingstonist inquiries, Kingston Police would not expand on the nature of the threat to Kingston Secondary School (KSS) which resulted in police attending the school and the administration placing the school on lockdown at approximately 1 p.m. today.

“[This] is an ongoing investigation and I have no further information at this specific time,” Constable Ash Gutheinz, Media Relations Officer for Kingston Police, said in an email to Kingstonist.

“The main thing, though, is that there is no threat to public safety or that of the students/faculty.”

For their part, the Limestone District School Board — the school board that oversees the operations of both KSS and nearby Molly Brant Elementary School (which was placed on hold and secure during the incident) — responded to calls and emails from Kingstonist at approximately 3:10 p.m. today with the following information, which was “shared with” the families of students at KSS and Module Vanier, the French immersion school housed within the KSS building (a “similar message” was shared with families of students at Molly Brant Elementary, the board said):

“We are writing to inform you about an incident that took place at our school this afternoon. At approximately 1:00 p.m., we received information that there was a potential inside risk to students and staff. School staff responded by enacting the Limestone District School Board’s emergency protocol by putting the schools into lockdown and contacting emergency services. Molly Brant Elementary School was also put into a Hold & Secure out of an abundance of caution. At 1:30 p.m., once police determined that there was no threat, the lockdown at KSS/Module Vanier and Hold & Secure at Molly Brant were lifted. 

“All students and staff are safe and resumed their regular schedule for the rest of the afternoon. 

“We appreciate the quick and diligent work of school staff to maintain safety and calm during today’s lockdown and to students for their diligent adherence to school safety protocols. School staff and members of the Board’s Educational Services team are working together to provide any necessary counselling and support for students. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Principal Darren Seymour or the rest of the administrative team.”

The message was signed by Patty Gollogly, Associate Superintendent of Curriculum & Program Services: School Climate & Community Engagement for the Limestone District School Board.

Pressed for information on what “a potential inside risk to students and staff” referred to, as well as if any students were found to be in possession of weapons, and if students are instructed to sit under their desks during a lockdown, the LDSB responded at approximately 4:10 p.m., noting that “since police are investigating the incident, we don’t have further details at this time.”

The board shared the following points (verbatim) on their lockdown protocol:

  • Immediate threat of violence to students and/or staff inside the school building.
  • Main objective is to protect safety of everyone by securing them behind locked doors.
  • Students and staff are placed into secure locked locations wherever they are and are to remain out of sight.
  • School does not operate as normal.
  • Students and staff are not to use electronic devices during a lockdown unless they have critical information for the police or emergency services (911 purposes).
  • No one is allowed in or out.
  • Police will assume command of the school building and access to the school and around the school will be restricted.
  • Protocol will continue until the principal, designate or police issues an all-clear.

The LDSB also said that further information on all of the board’s emergency protocols can be found on the LDSB website here.

This article will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.

Update (Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, at 4:35 p.m.):
According to Kingston Police, there was no actual threat to the school, students, or staff at Kingston Secondary School (KSS) and Module Vanier on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023, when the secondary school and French immersion school within it went into lockdown precautions.

“Kingston Police responded to Kingston Secondary School after receiving a complaint regarding possible threats involving a student who may have been in possession of a weapon. These allegations were investigated and no weapon was recovered,” Const. Ash Gutheinz, Media Relations Officer for Kingston Police, said in response to follow-up questions from Kingstonist.

“After further investigation, it was discovered that no direct threats were ever made in relation to any weapon,” Gutheinz continued.

“No charges were laid as a result of this investigation.”

2 thoughts on “Update: No weapon or threat detected after Kingston Secondary School placed on lockdown

  • What is the point of all this writing about the 2 schools if there is not even a hint of what really happened?
    A paragraph of a few lines could have sufficed and saved many people wasting time to read all this. Thanks.

    • Hi Michael,
      Thanks for the question. When a situation is developing and we’re unsure of the exact nature or cause of an incident, we try to keep our readers updated with all of the information we can gather. Whether that information is as detailed as we’d like doesn’t negate our obligation to share what we have learned with our readers.
      Hope that helps clarify!
      Tori Stafford

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