St. Mary’s students threatened on school bus

RCMP seize knife

By Lois Ann Dort    

DISTRICT OF ST. MARY’S – On Tuesday, October 10, Sherbrooke RCMP were called as a result of four youth being threatened with a knife on a school bus. According to RCMP, no one was hurt in the incident and a 16-year-old youth has been charged with assault with a weapon.

The matter is being referred to Restorative Justice and the weapon used in the alleged assault was a folding utility knife which has been seized by the RCMP.

The students attend St. Mary’s Education Centre / Academy and were on the bus returning home at the end of the school day. The Journal spoke to the Strait Regional School Board Superintendent Ford Rice on Monday about the incident.

“It’s my understanding that the parents of the child who was threatened called the RCMP,” said Rice. He also said that it is his understanding that the school bus driver was not aware of the situation until the bus run was over.

When asked if he was aware of any preceding incidents precipitating the alleged assault Rice said, “That is what we are looking into now...if there were issues at the school that led to this. My Director of Programs is following up with school administration around those issues and around the bigger picture; issues with the student that made the alleged threat and the students who witnessed it as well.”

On Wednesday, October 11 the student who allegedly made the knife threat the previous afternoon was allowed to travel to school on the school bus in the morning. Rice said, “It was unfortunate that this happened. It should not have happened and for that I apologize...unfortunately my team here at the regional office did not become aware of it until the next day. By that point in time the student had already rode the bus in the morning but did not ride the bus in the afternoon.”

When Rice was asked if the student in question was still attending the school, privacy issues did not allow him to answer directly. He said, “The school administration, RCMP and the School Board are taking this matter very seriously and we’re continuing our investigation to make sure that following this event, we have a good plan in place not only for the students who witnessed the event but for the safety and security of the school and for the student that is involved in this. The safety of our students and our staff is our number one priority...We will continue to work with the school and the school administration to ensure that students and staff are in a safe and secure learning environment.”

Next steps include working with the school administration to put a plan in place for this issue and addressing the needs of the students who witnessed this incident. “That is of utmost priority,” said Rice.