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Toronto schools deal with rash of lockdowns, hold and secures

Last Updated Oct 27, 2015 at 8:07 pm EDT

Once seemingly rare occurrences, lockdowns and hold and secures have become commonplace so far this year at Greater Toronto Area schools.

Between Toronto and Peel Region, the safety measures have been implemented every single week since the school year began.

In some situations, like the stabbing near Central Tech on the first day of school, they are clearly warranted.

That’s not always the case.

A squirrel acting a bit squirrelly was enough for one Catholic school in Toronto to issue a hold and secure. Apparently, the furry rodent seemed a bit off in the school field, and could have been rabid.

Toronto District School Board (TDSB) spokesperson Ryan Bird said hold and secures may be common, but they aren’t disruptive.

“In many cases students don’t even know it’s going on,” he said. “Student life continues on as normal inside, it just means no coming and going and the doors are locked.”

“A lockdown is usually something in the immediate area of the school or on school property or inside the school and that’s more serious,” he adds. “That’s when students and staff would clear the hallways.”

According to the TDSB, under a lockdown students are shuffled into classrooms where teachers lock the doors, shut off the lights and cover all interior windows and glass panes.

The TDSB says at least 12 school have been in hold and secure mode since September for varying reasons, with police often calling the shots.

Most boards don’t track statistic on safety measures.

CityNews obtained the following list from police and school board Twitter feeds.

Since the start of the school year:

Lockdowns:

Oct. 26 – Runnymede, Brampton Centennial
Sept. 23 – George S Henry
Sept. 21 – Queen Victoria Public School
Sept. 16 – Castle Oaks, Mayfield, Countryside
Sept. 8 – Central Tech

Hold & Secures:

Oct. 26 – King George Junior Public School, Bishop Francis Allen
Oct. 23 – Dawnwood Park, Bendale Tech
Oct. 20 – Trelawney, Mt. Carmel
Oct. 13 – Monsignor Percy
Oct. 8 – Rowntree, Conestoga, Heartlake SS
Oct. 5 – “schools in area of Yonge & Drewry”
Oct. 2 – Mc Bride, John Fraser SS, Woodlands PS, Russell Barber, St. John XXIII
Sept. 29 – Brimwood, Our Lady of Grace, Francis Liberman, Albert Campbell
Sept. 23 – Rene Gordon, Wellness Academy
Sept. 18 – Yorkwoods
Sept. 16 – Humberview SS, J Bolton PS,
Sept. 8 – St. Roch