Student released without charges after gun call at North York school, no firearm recovered

One student is in custody after a gun call at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute. Melissa Nakhavoly speaks to one student who described the chaos as it unfolded.

By John Marchesan and Patricia D'Cunha

Police say a student who was arrested Thursday after a gun call at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute in Flemingdon Park has been released with no charges laid.

Police were called to the school, located on Overlea Boulevard at Don Mills Road, around 12:30 p.m. following reports of a gun seen in the area. The school was placed under lockdown.

A couple of hours after the lockdown was initiated, police said one student had been taken into custody.

“There was information that a gun was seen in the school,” Insp. Lori Kranenburg said on Thursday. “I can’t comment on the circumstances that led up to the event.”

In an update on Friday, police said no firearms have been recovered.

Some of the students went to a neighbouring school, which resulted in Valley Park Middle School also being put into a hold and secure as the investigation continued.

A student who spoke to CityNews described the chaotic scene inside the gym during the lunch hour. She says there was a fight on the other side of the gym and that one of the students involved attempted to retrieve his backpack.

“The girls said that he picked up something, they saw something black in his hand,” she said before she heard someone scream “There’s a gun, there’s a gun,” which sent everyone running from the gym.

“I just ran. I got into the change room and the teachers locked the doors,” she said. “It was a really terrifying experience for me.”

No injuries were reported as a result of the incident and the lockdowns were eventually lifted.

RELATED: Teachers union calling on province to do more to address school violence

This is the latest gun-related incident in a week that police have investigated at a Toronto-area school — the second involving Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, which was put in a hold and secure following a lunch hour shooting near the school on Monday.

A week ago someone fired a gun inside the bathroom of East York Alternative Secondary School, striking an outreach worker in the shoe and leaving him with minor injuries. Meanwhile, a 13-year-old boy was arrested on Wednesday after allegedly bringing a toy gun to Lanor Junior Middle School in Etobicoke and robbing two fellow students.

“I think it is important to know that this is not a single school board issue,” said TDSB spokesperson Sherry Schwartz-Maltz, adding an expert reference group is being put together to address the ongoing issue of violence within schools.

“This is an issue that involves the school board as part of the community and it is going to take a lot of effort, a lot of work and a lot of action between the school board, all its community partners and all levels of government. It is happening right now, the conversations are happening right now. It’s important to know it’s not just conversations, it’s action.”

CityNews reporter Melissa Nakhavoly contributed to this report

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