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Ecole Olds High School lockdown lifted as RCMP determine no risk found

10 RCMP units dispatched to Ecole Olds High School May 19 as people took shelter behind locked doors
MVT OHS lockdown 5
Ten RCMP units responded to Ecole Olds High School this morning. Lea Smaldon/MVP Staff

OLDS - RCMP determined there was no risk at Ecole Olds High School this morning after students, staff and the public were told to seek safe places to shelter as an investigation unfolded.

Olds RCMP were dispatched to the high school at 9:57 a.m. on May 19.

Staff Sgt. Warren Wright said RCMP members were responding to “youth-generated concerns concerning a youth.”

Ten units from Olds and area detachments were deployed to the school.

It took about 45 minutes from the point of dispatch “to the point where we determined there was no risk to the public and the outcome was not the same as the dispatch.”

In a note sent to parents, principal Tom Christensen said the high school "was under a precautionary lockdown at the request of local RCMP for a short time this morning. That lockdown has now been lifted without incident and the school day at Olds High is continuing as normal. We take our direction from the RCMP in these matters, and the situation they were investigating has been concluded. They have determined there is no risk to public safety."

Students the Albertan talked to who were exiting the school around 10:40 a.m. had mixed reactions to the events that had unfolded.

Grade 11 student Marisa Torchia was in the school as police responded.

“We locked all the doors. People were crying and freaking out and like 20 minutes later the cops came around to each door and told us that the whole school was surrounded by cops, everybody’s safe and it’s going to be OK.”

The experience left her “really shaken,” she said. “I didn’t think this could ever happen. But it did. We’re all fine but it was really scary and I’m just going to go home because I don’t think I can do school right now.”

Grade 10 student Mannix Dhorburn who was also in the school at the time, said he wasn’t too concerned about the unfolding events and just tried to keep others calm.

“I was in the commons area right before a police officer told us to get into a safer, more enclosed environment,” he said.

He and some fellow students “went to a little staff-type room to the right of the commons area.”

When told it was safe, he and others he was with left the school.