Clearwater Secondary School went into lockdown Monday afternoon as staff and police dealt with a student who had threatened a teacher.
“I can tell you what I told parents,” said principal Darren Coates. “It happened at about 2:30. A student made a fairly serious threat towards a staff member.”
“A number of factors, including the fact that the student was in an agitated state, led us to take the situation seriously and we did a partial lockdown.”
Because of the nature of the situation the public address system was not used. Instead, he and vice-principal Tracy Buck did a quick walk through the hallways, telling teachers to take their students into their rooms and lock the doors.
The school had done two lockdown drills in September, Coates said, and so the process went smoothly.
The drills at that time were identified as such. When he went around on Monday some students asked him if it was another drill.
“When I told them, ‘No,’ their jaws dropped,” he said. “I later told them that no gun was involved but, unfortunately, some did not hear that.”
Clearwater RCMP arrived on the scene quickly, defused the situation, and took the student off the premises.
The remaining students were removed from lockdown after approximately a half-hour.
The principal arranged for extra counselling time on Tuesday for students who request it. He also advised parents about what had happened.
The school district has a violence threat risk assessment procedure that kicked in as the incident was underway, Coates said.
This included a multi-faceted team that will develop a long-term plan for the student involved.
In the meantime, the student is not attending CSS.
The teacher involved was upset by the experience but suffered no physical harm, the principal reported.
“It was an unfortunate incident,” Coates said. “We have procedures in place, just in case we need them. In this case, we did.”