A genuine threat? A hoax? Or a cry for help? Police in Oakville, west of Toronto, are examining all three possibilities after what was termed a "disturbing" message was found scrawled in a boys washroom at Iroquois Ridge High School.
Such incidents don't normally get publicity unless the investigation warrants it, said Sergeant Peter Payne of Halton Regional Police. In this case, however, word of the graffiti leaked out after a parent alerted a television station.
Sgt. Payne would not describe the threat, but media reports said it was written on a toilet paper dispenser in a bathroom stall and warned that a shooting rampage would take place tomorrow.
By coincidence, the story surfaced on the eve of the Canadian Safe School Network's 10th annual conference in Toronto, where hundreds of teachers and policy experts will gather to review lessons gleaned from last September's mass shooting at Montreal's Dawson College.
"Our goal here is to really drive home the very, very serious situation facing a lot of people in schools," network president Stu Auty said in an interview yesterday.
A team of detectives is examining the incident at Iroquois Ridge, one of Oakville's biggest schools. If the culprit is found, "there could be criminal charges, absolutely," Sgt. Payne said.