It’s becoming an all too familiar scene: heavily armed police officers descending on school property, looking to stop a potential threat to students and stuff.
RCMP say they allocate as many resources as possible in situations where there could be a weapon at or near a school.
This was evident on Tuesday, when police were called to Millwood High School after receiving a tip about two youth in the area with guns.
One grade 10 student says her teacher was hiding students behind tables when lockdown was imposed. #Millwood pic.twitter老域名购买/LBlPzLfxFK
— Natasha Pace (@NatashaPace) April 5, 2016
READ MORE: Teens face slew of charges after Millwood High’s Tuesday lockdown
“We would never want to underestimate what we’re hearing,” said RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clarke.
“So based on the complaints that we get, that’s the information we would use in order to make a risk assessment in order to respond to that incident.”
The response to threats or possible threats against schools hasn’t always been this way.
April 20 marks the 17th anniversary of the Columbine shooting. The massacre left 13 people dead and changed how authorities in the United States and Canada operate in situations involving schools.
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“People are very aware that there’s been a number of school shootings that have occurred in North America, mainly in the United States, in the last 15 years,” said Doug Hadley, spokesperson with the Halifax Regional School Board.
“The Nova Scotia Department of Education has hired a police liaison officer to do school safety audits and to look at procedures schools may do, and might do, to keep buildings safe.”
Nova Scotia schools taking new measures
All schools in Nova Scotia are now required to practice both hold and secure and lockdown drills twice a year. That way if something does happen and a school is placed in a lockdown situation, children of all ages will know how to react.
The School Board says there are also other safety measures that have been incorporated across the province.
“School buildings will lock all their doors with the exception of maybe the front door if it’s seen by the office after the school day starts. In many cases, those doors will be locked and there will be a buzzer that you need to push if you want to get into the school,” said Hadley.
“Also, something as simple as ID tags, so people can identify who is in the building.”
Hadley says schools around Nova Scotia have tried to incorporate subtle security measures that many people may not notice.
“The idea is that we want to protect the learning environment without changing it,” said Hadley.
READ MORE: Halifax school evacuated after bomb threat, no suspicious package found
The Halifax Regional School Board says they don’t keep track of how many lockdowns are imposed each year.
In the last two weeks alone, there have been three lockdowns and one hold and secure implemented at schools in the Halifax-area.
On March 24, officers could be seen surrounding Cole Harbour High School with their weapons drawn after a student at the school reportedly made an threat against a fellow student.
RCMP say armed response at #ColeHarbour High was needed in the event there was more to the threat made by a student. pic.twitter老域名购买/HMksCP4sE3
— Cory McGraw (@McgrawCory) March 24, 2016
With this type of activity becoming more common, RCMP say they are turning to new ways to help communicate and get information out.
“Social media is a huge help for us because we can get information out really fast to concerned parents, to media, to police,” Clarke said.
“It’s definitely a partnership between all of us to get the information out there so we can deal with whatever the problem is at the schools.”