Following a shooting outside a North York high school on Thursday morning, a Grade 11 student was transported to hospital with serious injuries.
It happened approximately 11 a.m. in the south parking lot area near Victoria Park Collegiate Institute.
The school was put on lockdown “nearly immediately” after the incident, according to Toronto District School Board spokesperson Ryan Bird, and students and staff were confined to their classrooms for the most of the day as police processed the area.
“I think a shooting of this kind anywhere in the city is concerning enough. Then you put it in the middle of the day and in the parking lot of a school, I think it’s got to be concerning for a lot of students, parents and members of the community,” Bird said.
Bird said that there were “a number of shots” heard coming from the direction of the parking lot, though the exact circumstances leading up to the shooting remain unclear.
He said the school does have a number of surveillance cameras both inside and outside the property and that police will be reviewing the footage as part of their investigation.
“In the meantime, we’re making sure that we’re supporting students in any way we can,” he said. “We have social workers on the scene, speaking with students who require additional supports. Obviously something like this is very difficult for a number of students and we want to make sure that we’re supporting them.”
Police initially said that the victim was located in the vicinity of Don Mills Road and Lawrence Avenue, which is more than 3 kilometres to the southwest of the school.
However, they later clarified that the victim travelled to multiple locations before he was transported to hospital and was not forthcoming about the actual site of the shooting.
The shooting marks just the latest violent incident to occur on the premises of Victoria Park Collegiate Institute during this school year.
In November, Grade 11 student Maahir Dosan was fatally stabbed on the track and field area outside the school. Two other individuals were also stabbed in that incident.
“It’s understandable that people would be concerned but overall I would say the school is indeed a safe school,” Bird said on Thursday. “You have got literally a school filled with dozens of caring adults that are ready to help support kids at a moment’s notice. So we just want to reassure them of that.”