School District #83 will be determining age-appropriate consequences for an elementary school student who attempted to stab another student with a knife.
On Thursday, April 13, students of Parkview Elementary in Sicamous brought home a letter from school principal Carla Schneider, explaining a situation that occurred the day prior on a bus that serves the school.
The letter states, “it is alleged a young student brought a pocketknife on the school bus and stabbed at another student.” It noted there were no injuries as a result of the incident.
“The safety of our students is always top priority,” writes Schneider. “Please be assured that we are committed to providing a safe learning environment for our students. We take all incidents very seriously.”
Patrick Head of Malakwa is the father of the 11-year-old boy who was stabbed at. He says the boy with the knife stabbed their son’s backpack before threatening to throw the weapon at a girl sitting nearby.
“My son was trapped in a seat and, after trying to protect the girl across from them, telling this boy not to throw the knife at her, the boy turned on my son and was pushing with all his might to get it into my son’s thigh,” said Head. “He tried to protect himself. He was too afraid to scream. He was trying with all his might to prevent the knife from going into his thigh.”
Head said police responded to the incident, as well as the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
This was confirmed by Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil, as were some the details – that the two boys had been seated next to each other, and the boy with the knife stabbed the other’s backpack before making cutting motions towards his legs.
McNeil said the ministry was contacted because the matter involved a child under the age of 12. Canada’s Youth Justice Act only applies to youth ages 12 to 17. Those under the age of 12 are not yet considered to be criminally responsible.
SD#83 spokesperson Alice Hucul said Friday, April 21, that the incident had moved beyond allegation and that the school district will be conducting a hearing to determine “age-appropriate consequences.”
SD#83 director of instruction, Dianne Ballance explains a district hearing typically involves information gathering and is used to identify interventions and supports that are needed and appropriate.
“Conditions of return to school are identified and sometimes appropriate and/or alternate educational programming is put in place,” says Ballance. “It’s a very comprehensive process.”
Hearings often involve other professionals (such as a healthy living coach, youth and family counsellors), as well as inter-agency professionals (Ministry of Children and Family Development staff, social workers, RCMP, etc.).
Ballance adds safety for all individuals is considered in the process, and that follow-up meetings, review dates and check-ins are also conducted.
In the meantime, Head said he and his family, as well as others who have children attending Parkview, remain anxious, and worried about any repercussions should the boy be allowed to return to the school.
“We’re fearful of our child to be on that school bus with this kid being allowed back in school…,” said Head. “We’re thinking, if this kid is allowed back in school, we’ll be removing our child. And there’s quite a few other parents here, in Malakwa, that are concerned for their children being on the same school bus.”