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Secure Schools

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Terms Used for Secure Schools Responses

Terminology is important when a situation impacts the safety of students and staff. Schools, police and media outlets use four specific terms during secure schools responses. Please also see below regarding School Threats.

The term LOCKDOWN must be use appropriately and leave no misunderstanding as to what is expected.

  • Lockdown: Potentially serious violent situation at the school that would endanger the lives of staff and students. Usually police initiated.
  • Hold and Secure: Safety situation in the neighbourhood not related to the school.
  • Shelter in Place: Potential environmental or weather-related hazard outside the school.
  • Bomb threat: Report or discovery of an explosive device.

School Threats:

We take all school threats, whether made online or inside the school, seriously. We report every school threat to Hamilton Police Service and follow Hamilton Police/School Board Protocol.

Police investigate and help HWDSB determine an appropriate response. Each threat is unique and may result in actions that differ from case to case.

A school threat does not always mean the school enters a lockdown or a hold and secure. In rare cases, a school may close as HWDSB receives additional information about the case.

Threats against schools bring serious criminal charges as well as suspension or expulsion from school. We hold perpetrators accountable.

Supporting a safe school culture is a shared responsibility by everyone in the school community.

Reporting School Threats

If you are aware of a threat, immediately contact police at (905) 546-4925 and inform your school principal.

Students can report information anonymously, through HWDSB Helps or Crimestoppers.

Text 905-963-0066. Standard rates apply.
• Download the HWDSB Helps app for iOS and Android.
• Access the anonymous web chat (hwdsb.info/webchat-help).
• Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.

Communication to families

Families will receive communication from their school after a secure schools response or school threat. Where appropriate, direct contact will be made to families via email or phone call.

During secure schools events, cell phone use between families and students is restricted. Phone lines must be free for emergency services.


Updated on Tuesday, October 03, 2023.
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