British police made an arrest yesterday after emails ‘threatening violence to children and staff’ were received by a number of schools in Leeds.
West Yorkshire Police had launched an investigation – with officers “providing reassurance and safety advice to affected schools”.
In messages to parents, one primary headteacher said police had been treating the threat as ‘credible’ – and children were being kept indoors for the whole day, with gates locked and windows and doors closed.
In its statement, the force said: “Officers have commenced an investigation into a potential malicious communications offence and have now made an arrest in connection with the matter.”
It added: “Contrary to some reports the force has not issued guidance to schools to ‘lockdown’ and has not stated the threats are credible.”
According to Leeds Live, the schools understood to be affected so far are Richmond Hill Academy, Ruth Gorse Academy, Sharp Lane Primary School, Windmill Primary School, Beeston Primary School and Clapgate Primary School.
According to Bradford’s Telegraph & Argus newspaper, Killinghall Primary School sent a message to parents earlier in the day saying: “I am writing to let you know that school is currently in lockdown. Nobody is coming in or going out.”
Several schools in Leeds had not been issued an email but had bolstered their security measures to provide reassurance to parents and caregivers.
The schools implementing a soft lockdown had communicated that students would be required to stay indoors throughout the day, while certain students might be sent home from school early.
Pupils left Sharp Lane Primary School as normal in the afternoon in what was understood to be a moment of real concern. Parents and teachers discussed what had happened at the school gates.
Schools are expected to continue as normal today.
A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “We are aware of an ongoing situation relating to emails received by a number of schools in Leeds and we are working closely with West Yorkshire Police to monitor the situation and provide support to schools.”
Meanwhile, a Bradford Council spokesperson said yesterday: “We are aware that a number of schools in West Yorkshire, including the Bradford district, received an email today which is being investigated by the police.
“Police officers are providing reassurance and safety advice to affected schools.
“We are supporting our schools as they follow this advice. The safety of everyone in our schools is of course our top priority.”
Gildersome Primary School posted on Facebook saying staff were being “extra vigilant” and normal “safeguarding procedures are being followed”.
The school said it was “not in lockdown”.
“To reinforce, there was no threat to our site, we are just being extra cautious as advised by the local authority. This was being investigated by police and officers were providing reassurance and safety advice to affected schools.”
Earlier this week, a police investigation was launched after malicious emails were sent to a number of schools in the North West. One parent told Sky News she was ‘petrified’.