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Bomb threats at Oakville school over trans teacher linked to threats against Boston Children's Hospital

National Post logo National Post 2022-12-06 Adrian Humphreys
Oakville Trafalgar High School in Oakville, Ont. © Toronto Sun Staff/Postmedia Oakville Trafalgar High School in Oakville, Ont.

The same day a bomb threat forced the closure of an Ontario school where the attire of a transgender teacher who wore giant fake breasts brought a storm of contention, a threat using the same email account sparked the evacuation of a Boston hospital’s transgender health-care unit.

Both bomb threats were sent through an encrypted email service.

Eight separate bomb threats against Oakville Trafalgar High School, all since complaints about the teacher began roiling people, are being investigated by Halton Regional Police.

The first threat against the school was made by phone in September, followed by seven others sent by email from Nov. 16 to Nov. 29, according to Halton police.

On Nov. 16, the first emailed threat claimed bombs had been placed in the school and the offices and homes of Halton District School Board officials.

The email falsely claimed two named board officials “will have been assassinated by the time this email is received. Their cars will have blown up, and their houses burned down.”

It was sent to 10 email addresses for Halton police, Halton school board, and some newspapers, including National Post, with the subject line “We placed several bombs all over your school.”

That same morning, an email from the same email account and using similar language was sent to various addresses at Boston Children’s Hospital, to Boston police, and local media.

That email used similar profanity and disparaging language and complained of the same transgender issue, with the subject line “Bombs in Boston Childrne’s hospital,” according to a description of the email by the Boston Herald . (The misspelling was in the email.)

That email similarly falsely claimed to have placed bombs at the hospital as well as the homes and cars of staff at the facility’s Gender Multispecialty Service.

In both cases, police responded.

 Recent bomb threats emailed to Boston Children’s Hospital came from the same account as threats sent at the same time to Oakville Trafalgar High School in Ontario. © Provided by National Post Recent bomb threats emailed to Boston Children’s Hospital came from the same account as threats sent at the same time to Oakville Trafalgar High School in Ontario.

In Oakville, the school was evacuated and parents and students were told not to come to school. A search confirmed the threats were unfounded; the people were safe and no explosives found, police said.

A similar process unfolded 945 kilometres southeast.

After an investigation and search of the facility and homes by Boston police officers, the hospital was given the all-clear and access and service resumed. The school and hospital both received another threat the next day, but it is unknown if these are linked as well.

A connection between Canada and threats in the United States doesn’t come as such a surprise in Boston.

In October, a Canadian was arrested in Peterborough, Ont., in connection with multiple bomb threats targeting Boston locations, after an investigation that included Boston police, the FBI, and Peterborough police.

In that case, a wave of online threats began Sept. 9, 2022, first to Boston Children’s Hospital and then, over the next four days, against other institutions, including the Boston library.

“All of these threats shared similar details and appeared to have originated in Canada based on the findings of Boston Police Department Investigators,” a Boston police spokesperson said.

Joshua Kimble, 42, of Peterborough, Ont., was charged with 12 counts of public mischief, 12 counts of false information and one of failing to comply with a probation order.

The alleged probation breach stems from Kimble’s conviction last year in Peterborough for emailing bomb threats to police, schools, libraries, and hotels in Ontario and B.C. Court heard he had schizophrenia.

It seems unlikely the latest emails were sent by Kimble.

He had a court appearance on Monday in Peterborough for the October charges and remains in custody, with a bail hearing not scheduled until next week, according to court records.

The threats against Oakville Trafalgar High School stem from intense controversy over a transgender teacher wearing enormous prosthetic breasts in class. The school and the school board decided there was nothing they could do, despite complaints from parents, protest rallies, petitions and depositions at board meetings.

By then, the story — with photos posted online by students — found a wide audience online and internationally.

The Nov. 16 threat to the school was followed by similar, escalating threats sent through different email accounts and using different usernames, sent on Nov. 17, 19, 22, 24 and 29, and another unknown date.

The Nov. 19 email contained a hit list of 20 people. The Nov. 24 email claimed bombs had been placed at three fire stations, three other education facilities, Oakville’s municipal office, two food stores and a big box store. A National Post reporter was included as a recipient on four of the emailed threat messages.

The first two used the encrypted Proton email service, one with the username Ukrloh and the other Salome4321ki. The next two used a Gmail account using the name Zamina Tataro.

The first two almost certainly are from the same person, or at least someone who knew unpublished details of the first emailed threat. The others use similar syntax and stylistic typing.

Const. Ryan Anderson, media relations officer with Halton police, said investigators are “aware of threats received towards a hospital in Boston and continue to investigate all leads.”

“We recognize that any incidents involving the safety of children will always cause concern and worry in the community. As always, we will balance the requirements of the investigation with communication and updates that are applicable as this investigation progresses.”

Boston police did not answer questions about their knowledge of links between threats, prior to deadline. Boston hospital did not respond to questions — they were busy after receiving another threat on Monday.

Heather Francey, manager of communications at the Halton school board, said the board is working closely with police.

“We have every confidence in the security measures and safety procedures in place at our schools,” said Francey.

“The school is being monitored on a 24-hour basis to help ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff. Classes continue as scheduled and our emergency protocols will be followed,” Francey said.

The board told parents there is also on-site security at the school.

Meanwhile, a group for parents with students at the school said their children are caught in the middle.

“The teachers have a protocol, every time there (is a threat) there is a protocol that they need to search the classroom for bombs,” said Celina Close, a parent with children at the school and a spokesperson for Students First Ontario.

“It is uncomfortable for a parent and equally so for the children.”

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