Update: no threat to public safety – Napanee area schools placed on precautionary hold and secure measures

Photo by Logan Cadue/Kingstonist.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated since it was originally published on Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2024, at 3:45 p.m. Please see bottom of article for most recently updated information.

A large police presence in Napanee has been coupled with a number of area schools being placed on hold and secure.

At approximately 2:50 p.m. on Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2024, residents in Napanee began reporting a large presence of Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers in the area around the fairgrounds, Napanee District Secondary School (NDSS), J.J. O’Neill Catholic School, and Prince Charles School. Shortly thereafter, parents of students at the schools began reporting that precautionary measures were being put in place at those schools.

Calls and emails to the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board (ALCDSB), the Limestone District School Board (LDSB), and the Lennox and Addington (L&A) County OPP received no immediate response. However, at 3:30 p.m., the LDSB issued a statement on X (formerly Twitter) regarding the situation.

“The OPP have placed Napanee District Secondary School and The Prince Charles School in a Hold & Secure. Out of an abundance of caution, the OPP placed Southview PS into a Hold & Secure but have since lifted. Students and staff are safe. Updates to follow,” the board stated.

At the same time, parents with students in the ALCDSB received notice from the board that J.J. O’Neill Catholic School was also on hold and secure, noting that bus and dismissal time would be delayed.

It is unclear if any of the schools were or are placed under lockdown, a stepped-up precautionary measure from a hold and secure (the latter ensures that students and staff remain in the school, but learning continues).

According to residents in Napanee, the OPP Canine Unit has been seen in the area. While residents have reported that the incidents are related to some type of weapons offence, Kingstonist has not been able to confirm those reports at this time.

The ALCDSB has said it will provide updates to parents via email. The LDSB said it will provide updates on its X account.

Kingstonist will provide updated coverage as more information becomes available.

Update (Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2024, at 4:30 p.m.):
The OPP have confirmed that they are currently investigating a reported male with a firearm.

In a post on X, the OPP East Region provided information on the large police presence in Napanee and the precautionary measures being taken at area schools (see above).

“Increased police presence in Napanee around the fair grounds as police investigate a report of a male with a possible firearm seen walking around near JJ O’Neil Catholic School. As a result, nearby schools have been placed in a hold & secure. Updates to follow,” the OPP stated.

Both the LDSB and the ALCDSB have not responded to requests for information, nor has further information been provided by the LDSB online, as of 4:35 p.m.

Update (Wednesday, Mar. 27, 2024, at 5:30 p.m.:
The OPP have now communicated that there is no threat to public safety regarding the investigation into a male reported with a possible firearm near a school in Napanee.

“OPP is advising that there is no threat to public safety. The investigation is ongoing at this time,” the OPP East Region said on X at approximately 5:10 p.m.

The LDSB and the ALCDSB have still not responded to Kingstonist inquiries at this time. Follow the OPP East Region on X for any updates the OPP may relay tonight.

Update (Thursday, Mar. 28, 2024 at 10:50 a.m.):
The Limestone District School Board (LDSB) responded to Kingstonist’s inquiries just before 6 p.m. the day of the above incident.

“The information we have is that at approximately 3:12 p.m., OPP placed Napanee DSS, The Prince Charles School and Southview Public School into a Hold & Secure as a precautionary measure due to an incident within the community. All students and staff were safe,” the school board relayed in an email.

“The OPP lifted the Hold & Secure at Southview PS at approximately 3:25 p.m., and the Hold & Secure was lifted at NDSS and The Prince Charles at approximately 4:53 p.m.”

According to LDSB, for the latter two schools, at the time of the Hold & Secure, school was dismissed so the majority of students and staff had left the building. However, those participating in extracurricular activities taking place at the school were affected by the Hold & Secure.

“A letter regarding the Hold & Secure was sent directly to affected families,” the board concluded.

Kingstonist will continue to provide updated coverage of this situation if/when more information becomes available.

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