RCMP are recommending charges connected with the incident on April 23. Photo credit: Andrea DeMeer Andrea DeMeer RCMP is recommending charges connected with the incident April 23.

Teachers say Princeton high school should have been locked down

Union brings in Worksafe BC over handling of starter pistol incident

Princeton teachers are upset with the way high school administrators dealt with an incident last month when a student produced a replica handgun.

Meanwhile RCMP are recommending charges to the crown for a 17-year-old male, who cannot be identified.

According to Corporal Chad Parsons a charge of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose is pending.

Richard Jensen, president of the Princeton District Teachers Union, said he believes school policy was not followed when the principal and vice-principal approached a young man and asked to search his backpack.

Principal Patrick Kaiser learned of the replica gun – a starter’s pistol – from another student who had seen it, but Kaiser did not know if the weapon was real.

Teachers “are extremely concerned that a lockdown didn’t happen,” said Jensen.

“This has to do with workplace safety…We’ve referred the matter to Worksafe BC to determine whether or not the board policies have been followed.”

Jensen was called to the school by a teacher a couple of hours after the incident occurred on April 23.

“I can assure you I have put significant man hours into this issue and I’m still awaiting some feedback. It’s an ongoing issue at this point.”

According to district superintendent Steve McNiven, there are numerous policies that might apply to the incident at Princeton Secondary School, covering weapons, emergency procedures, and school safety.

“We have at least four policies that these things fall under…We certainly need to review those policies and take a look at them and see if anything can be improved.”

McNiven has been contacted by Worksafe BC.

“At this point they are asking us to continue with our review of it so that’s what we are doing.”

That review, called a Violent Threat Risk Assessment Protocol, will include a meeting with teachers this week.

McNiven said he is concerned the union approached Worksafe. “Yes, but I also think we are going through a good process and I think that particularly…we will get an opportunity to hear what their questions and concerns are.”

He declined to state whether the student at the centre of the incident has returned to school.

“I won’t comment on the student specifically at this time. I won’t respond to that.”

Related: Charges may be laid after starter pistol seized at school

Related: Student produces gun at Princeton Secondary School

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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