Parents were of two minds about the appropriateness of arresting a Maple Bay Elementary student in front of his classmates Tuesday but one thing many agreed upon was disappointment over the lack of communication from the school after the incident.
Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.
Social media was abuzz after parents learned from their newsfeeds and from their children as they arrived home, what had transpired earlier in the day.
“Parents should have at least been immediately notified via an email after it was over so that they would be prepared to speak with their children about it properly instead of hearing about it on social media,” wrote Becky Johnston under the Citizen’s Facebook post.
In response to another parent, Marie Lomas-Cage wrote that she has kids in multiple classes at the school and hadn’t heard a word.
“Nothing sent here and I’ve got 4 classes covered….not impressed with no communication,” she wrote.
“We acknowledge that any presence of police at a school causes concern for parents and the larger community, but our responsibility lies on a balance, and during this time, the right to privacy and respect of the process outweighed our ability to give the limited information we had out,” explained SD79 spokesman Mike Russell on Wednesday. “As always, we encourage parents to reach out to the principal of their school if they have any questions.”
The student was taken into custody on the Donnay Street campus during the regular lunch break.
Both Russell, and RCMP Island District spokesperson Cpl. Tammy Douglas maintain the student population was never at risk.
“We take the safety and well-being of our students extremely seriously and provide information when and where we can,” Russell said. “This investigation had nothing to do with our school, and our school was simply the backdrop for the arrest. We were assured from the outset that at no time were any of our students at risk.”
Russell said the “complicating factor” was that the identity of the student was well-known within the school community.
“All these factors contributed to us making the decision to not release further details as we did not want to prejudice the RCMP file, any information before the courts, or the student who is at the centre of the investigation,” he said.
RCMP have said they will not comment further on the incident, including why the arrest was made at the elementary school.