False Burnaby school shooting rumour spread on Snapchat

Burnaby Now

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School officials had to reassure Burnaby South Secondary students that their school was open and “a safe learning environment” Tuesday after rumours of a planned school shooting spread on social media.

“Everybody was terrified; everybody was talking about it,” Grade 8 student Bardya Nassirian told Burnaby Now.

Snapchat (ThomasDeco / Shutterstock.com)

He said he got a group Snapchat from fellow students at about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday warning of a possible school shooting.

Nassirian said he was worried and stayed home.

“A lot of students didn’t go to school [Tuesday],” he said.

Police were on scene at the school first thing, and principal Victoria Lee sent out a letter to parents.

“We have learned that a person has made a concerning social media post, and that has triggered our school and district safety protocol,” she wrote. “We immediately contacted the Burnaby RCMP. Police officers are investigating and have deemed there is no immediate public safety concern at this time. In an abundance of caution, there will be a focus on safety at the school for the next several days to address any concerns or anxious feelings there might be within the school community.”

School district officials told Burnaby Now they could not comment on the content of the social media post as the investigation is now in police hands.

RCMP confirmed they got a complaint Monday about a troubling Snapchat post.

Cpl. Daniela Panesar said a Burnaby South student had allegedly overheard another student making a shooting threat.

That student had then posted that alleged overheard threat on Snapchat, according to Panesar, and a concerned parent who saw it contacted police.

Investigators, however, quickly determined there had been no actual threat.

“The incident has been investigated fully and has been confirmed false,” Panesar said later in the day.

“I wouldn’t say it’s common, but when they do happen, we have to take them seriously,” she said of school shooting threats circulating on social media. “It just takes that one time.”