A scene from the Schoolhouse Squat from October 2018, where Alliance Against Displacement members and supporters occupied the Rutherford Elementary School site, advocating for people experiencing homelessness. (News Bulletin file)

‘Schoolhouse Squat’ activists get conditional discharge in Nanaimo school occupation

Ivan Donald Drury, Tingchun (Listen) Chen sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo

  • May. 11, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Two more people involved with the “Schoolhouse Squat,” which saw anti-homelessness activists occupying a Nanaimo school three years ago, were sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo this week.

Ivan Donald Drury and Tingchun (Listen) Chen, charged with mischief in relation to the October 2018 incident at Rutherford Elementary School, entered guilty pleas and were each given conditional sentences with one year’s probation, 50 hours of community service and were ordered to pay a victim surcharge of $1,000 to Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district.

Under a conditional discharge, Drury and Chen won’t have a criminal record if they meet terms of their probation.

Mercedes Talyssa Lynn Courtoreille and Christopher Peter Thompson, two others charged in relation to the incident, also pleaded guilty and were sentenced to conditional discharges in October.

The Schoolhouse Squat, which took place Oct. 5-6, 2018, saw members of a group called Alliance Against Displacement and residents and supporters of Nanaimo’s Discontent City homeless camp break into the school to bring attention to affordable housing issues. More than 20 people were arrested and at the time, the district said related security and cleanup costs tallied $72,000.

The district previously told the News Bulletin that two major expenses related to repairs were $16,000 for security and $39,000 for property restoration. An elevator and doors were damaged, the district said.

“The board of education respects the decision of the court,” said Charlene McKay, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ board chairperson, in an e-mail. “It considers the matter closed and does not intend to expend any additional resources of the district on this issue.”

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