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College president says 'suspicious activity' caused morning lockdown at Barrie campus

Barrie police responded to two incidents at opposite ends of the city within about 90 minutes of each other

Two Barrie schools — a south-end high school and a north-end college campus — were placed in lockdown this morning within just over two hours of each other, but city police say the two incidents do not appear to be linked. 

Barrie police received a call around 7:30 a.m., Tuesday, about a “threat" to Bear Creek Secondary School on Red Oak Drive. About 90 minutes later, officers also responded to Georgian College's Barrie campus shortly after 9 a.m.

The south-end high school was given the all-clear around 8 a.m., and students and staff returned to their regular school day. It remains unclear exactly what the threat involved. 

Meanwhile, the college rescinded its lockdown around 10 a.m.

Barrie police communications co-ordinator Jennett Mays declined to comment on the reason for the college lockdown, but said the incident “is not believed to be related to the Bear Creek lockdown."

Mays did say the college lockdown was “not a direct threat to the college or the (YMCA) child care building next to it.” 

The YMCA Child Care centre, located at 1 Georgian Dr., was also placed in lockdown as a precaution. 

Georgian College president and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes said she was pleased with the response, but also relieved to get the all-clear to end the lockdown.

West-Moynes told BarrieToday the college lockdown was implemented due to “suspicious activity.”

“Our protocol required us to go into lockdown," she said. "Barrie police arrived and followed their procedure as we did ours."

West-Moynes said she was unable to provide any specifics about the incident because she had not been briefed on it yet. She said she expected to know more “later today.”

“At this point and earlier, our role was to make sure our staff and students are as safe as they can be,” West-Moynes said.

Information about the college situation was distributed to many people associated with the campus through the Safe At Georgian app, which can be downloaded by anyone for news on lockdowns, inclement weather, COVID-19, or other issues. 

“My phone has been constantly beeping as it alerted me that we were in a lockdown situation and it will then let you know when it is over. Many people use the app and would have been informed throughout the situation,” said West-Moynes.

The college's on-site sound system also alerted people of the lockdown, she said.

“We’re always testing it and making sure it reaches everywhere it needs to, in case someone is hiding in a closet or enclosed area," West-Moynes said. "It blares that we are in lockdown, and was a large and worthy investment. Even if a threat is in just one building, the sound system goes off in all buildings.”

As for the response to the situation, West-Moynes was grateful for the rapid response from Barrie police. 

“I just want to say the Barrie police have been very strong community partners with us. We've done a lot of trials with them in the past and they’ve always responded immediately,” she said. “I know we will learn from these situations and there will always be something we can learn from, but I am very grateful with the response we received today.”

Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based in Barrie
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