BRANTFORD — The school community of North Park Collegiate was shaken this week after three threats issued against the students at the school appeared on social media.
Brantford Police were alerted by concerned parents after an account on Instagram appeared threatening the student population at the school and taunting a specific “hit list” of students with gun violence.
The Instagram account was named northparkshooting and taunted the tagline ‘cops can’t catch me’. Screenshots of the account circulated across the newsfeeds of local parents, prompting grave concern and an immediate police investigation.
As a result of the investigation — one 13 year old male student was arrested and charged with threatening Wednesday.
However following that arrest a second threat was made against the students at North Park on Dec 14— again taunting a growing list of specific students were being targeted with violence.
School officials issued a statement to parents alerting them to the second threat and said while the school would remain open — an increased police presence would be on site.
Over the weekend a third threat was posted to social media. NPC Principal Phil Midgley contacted parents again to alert families about the ongoing situation — and that the school would remain open with an increased police presence for student and staff safety and ongoing investigations.
As of Tuesday evening no further threats and no further arrests were made other than the original 13 year old male charged from the initial posting.
Midgley said attendance at the school had retuned to normal by Tuesday afternoon. “There will be a continuing police presence at the school as Brantford Police conduct their investigation. We have been assured by our police partners that all measures are in place to keep students safe at the school,” wrote Midgley. “North Park Collegiate is a strong community and I take pride in knowing that everyone is doing their best to help during this difficult time.”
Midgley requested parents and students not share or re-post messages or screenshots of any further threats that appear on social media — but instead bring the information straight to police.
Parents of the students whose names appeared on the “hit list” shared on social media late last week how disturbing and unsettling it was for their children to see their personal information being shared across the internet in relation to the case.
Because of the risks associated with the mental anguish and possible copycat threats — NPC staff and police are continuing to ask the public not to share or repost.
NPC Vice Principal Jeff Brinson issed a statement Tuesday evening saying, “Brantford Police continue to conduct their investigation, and an on-going police presence is expected to remain at the school this week. We have been assured by our police partners that all measures are in place to keep students safe. We also have a wide range of supports available for students at the school.”
Parents are being asked to continue to monitor their student’s social media and report anything suspicious to the police immediately.
Anyone with information about the investigation is asked to contact Brantford Police Det. Chad Francis of the major crime unit at 519-756-0113, ext. 2272.
Anonymous tips can also be called in to Brant-Brantford Crime Stoppers at 519-750-8477 or 1-800-222-8477.