Update: Second bomb threat spurs evacuation of Hamilton Mountain school
Published September 22, 2023 at 9:35 am
Back-to-back bomb threats were made against an east Hamilton Mountain school, which evacuated its students and staff for the second straight day Friday. The first emailed threat yesterday (Sept. 21) assailed the Hamilton school and its controversial trans teacher.
Both threats were emailed and have “similarities,” Indy Bharaj, public information officer with Hamilton police, said today. He shared a screenshot of the first email with thehammer.com. Police obtained a copy of it. The email writer, who sent the email to multiple recipients, condemned staff at Nora Frances Henderson Secondary School and the Ontario Ministry of Education, accusing them of failing to create a “safe learning environment” because the school hired a controversial trans teacher.
Kayla Lemieux, a shop teacher, recently transferred to the Hamilton school from Oakville. Lemieux had made headlines worldwide because of her unusually large prosthetic breasts.
The first email sent Thursday warned of “several bombs” at the school. “We will end your lives if you do not evacuate the school,” the person wrote. “Next time there may not be a warning.”
Bharaj couldn’t provide a copy of the second email. The emails were sent to multiple recipients but not to police.
Hamilton police are investigating the incidents and reported no injuries or charges.
Hamilton police announced in a post on X, formerly Twitter, this morning (Sept. 22) that they responded to the threat at Nora Frances Henderson Secondary School. They asked people to avoid the area.
Bharaj said the school became aware of the second bomb threat at about 8:45 a.m. today (Sept. 22).
The school staff and students evacuated at about 9:09 a.m. and returned to the school at 10:30 a.m.
The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board declined to share details about the bomb threat and the teacher mentioned in the first email.
“As this is an active situation, we are not able to offer interviews or comments at this time,” it said in an email to inthehammer.com today (Sept. 22). “HWDSB will communicate updates to students, families and staff directly, and any public information may be posted online. The safety and well-being of our students and staff remains our top priority. We take every threat of violence against a school community seriously and have supports in place for student and staff well-being.”
The school was sent the first bomb threat shortly after it opened Thursday, Sept. 21, according to principal Tom Fisher’s letter to families. Hamilton police were immediately dispatched to the school and students and staff were evacuated to Ray Lewis Elementary School. The building was “deemed safe” until a second bomb threat today forced students and staff to evacuate the school again.
Fisher noted in a second letter he sent families last night that the school takes “all threats seriously” and practises regular drills throughout the year to be prepared for this type of event.
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