Traffic slowed to a crawl and offices emptied across Prince Edward Island Wednesday as parents raced to collect their kids in the wake of province-wide school evacuations triggered by a bomb threat.
RCMP spokesman Sgt. Kevin Baillie said a fax was sent to Ottawa RCMP Wednesday morning from someone threatening to detonate bombs at several schools.
Schools were notified within 10 minutes, he said.
“There’s been no threat found. Everybody is safe,” said Baillie at a midday news conference.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Mounties said a “comprehensive threat assessment” was undertaken and police are confident the threat was not credible. A statement said physical checks were conducted at every school and the facilities were safe for reopening.
About 19,000 students poured out of more than 60 English and French public schools Wednesday morning, some younger children crying as they ran from their school to designated safe locations, where they were met by buses and parents.
“I panicked because I found out from a co-worker,” said Natalie Doucette, who’s 12-year-old son Draven Livingston was evacuated from Birchwood Intermediate School in Charlottetown P.E.I.
“She heard it on the radio, otherwise I would have had no idea what was going on.”
Doucette said little information was made available to nervous parents.
“The school didn’t contact me. We literally didn’t know what was going on except what the news told us,” she said. “He was saying all the kids on the bus were pretty upset,” Doucette said.
“A few were actually crying because they knew as soon as they were taken off school property it wasn’t a drill.”
Doucette said her son is at home and is doing OK.
“He was a little worried at first because he had to leave all his stuff at the school,” she said. “He called me from the bus to let me know everything was OK.”
Doucette said things like this don’t happen on the Island.
“It happened a few times when I was in high school shortly after 9/11,” she said.
“After a few incidents you didn’t see it much, this is my son’s seventh year in school and we’ve never had anything like this happen before.”
Doucette said a lot of parents have been taking the day off of work due to the incident.
“I left work as soon as I heard to comfort Draven,” she said.
“A lot of kids don’t have after school care and parents just wanted to be with their kids after this traumatic experience,” she said.
with files from JT Marshall