15 Nov 2022

Student suspended for false threat claiming shooter was at school, prompting lockdown

11:53 am on 15 November 2022

Aotea College, which was sent into lockdown last week after a threat, has confirmed it came from one of its own students.

NCEA exams were interrupted for students of Aotea College in Porirua after the school went into lockdown on November 9, 2022.

Photo: Angus Dreaver/RNZ

Students at the Porirua school were sent an image on their phones last Wednesday which said a shooter was on site, the school has said in a statement.

The threat was sent via AirDrop, a Bluetooth sharing feature on Apple phones, which can send images to other iPhones nearby, given their settings will accept it.

Police swarmed the school and locked down the site for three hours before evacuating students and staff.

A spokesperson for the school has said during those first few hours "the threat and intention to shoot people at the school was anonymous and repeated".

Aotea College said the police investigation hd confirmed that at no point were there armed people on site - except for the police.

Police underwent a forensic investigation of digital devices and with the school identified the threat was sent by one of its students.

The student has now been suspended and faces a process led by police, the school said.

There were also some "false leads and some foolish actions" by a small number of students that were secondary to the threat", it said.

It confirmed those students had been investigated and may continue to be.

The school is also undergoing an internal review of the incident.