District addresses concerns of violence at Kelowna schools

Mounties were called to two schools this week.

Parents surprised Tuesday by the police presence at Watson Road Elementary quickly had their concerns addressed with an email from the school’s administration.

“Good morning Watson Road community! I’ll start off with, everyone is safe,” read the note to parents.

“Many of you witnessed a police presence at Watson Road this morning. I can’t share all the details but it was definitely a case of one young student bragging to another young student about violent behaviour.”

The email went on to say that the incident offered a great opportunity to talk to children about the problems with bragging, or joking with other students about weapons and violence.

While the missive was aimed at quelling concerns some felt more arise.

Central Okanagan School District superintendent Kevin Kardaal said that shouldn’t be the case.

The situaton, he explained, started with a conversation between two primary age students. One of those students conveyed what was said to a parent and that prompted the parent to call the police. Kardaal wouldn’t share what was said but noted that there was no real threat to safety.

The parent didn’t call the school first, opting to go to police and Kardaal said that’s fine.

“I’d rather people reacted with an abundance of caution,” he said. “The good thing was, if something was going to happen, there was a good reaction from police and we worked together well.”

While that may have amounted to a non-incident, schools were facing something more serious Wednesday.

Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey sent out a press release in the afternoon saying police have learned an altercation, between two students of a local school that escalated to the point that one of those youths produced a knife.

Kardaal said that incident involved two students that got into an altercation, and one student, “from fear or whatever,” produced a knife.

The other student grabbed at that hand, and the student with the knife pulled his hand away and the other kid’s hand was cut, he said.

“This was an isolated incident,” said Kardaal. “Staff is aware, they are working with RCMP and the families involved.”

All in all these episodes have been a dark mark on an otherwise “excellent start to the school year,” he said.

“It’s unfortunate when these kinds of incidents (with the high school students) occur,” he said.

“We encourage people to solve their issues with the support of adults.”