Threat of violence at West Kelowna school ‘not credible,’ say school officials

“A troubled young person made some unfortunate choices and comments”

A number of students at a West Kelowna secondary school are planning to miss classes Friday due to alarming comments made by one of their peers, but the district superintendent says there’s no need for concern.

Central Okanagan public schools superintendent Kevin Kaardal said “a troubled young person made some unfortunate choices and comments” at Mt. Boucherie Secondary School, Feb. 22. The threats toward a staff member and students were focused on this week.

When school officials heard what happened, however, they acted swiftly.

“It was taken incredibly seriously,” said Kaardal. “It was followed up by RCMP and by our own threat assessment team. We worked with the student and their family and assessed the threat — it was found to be absolutely not credible.”

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Once that had been established, Kaardal said the principal then tried to reassure the school community that there was no threat.

School principal Raquel Steen issued a statement to parents, acknowledging that the rumours had created some uncertainty, but the situation had been dealt with in a way that left school officials comfortable.

Rumours that violence would materialize, however, persist.

“Some people fear things because of what occurs in the US,” Kaardal said, referencing ongoing school shootings.

The other reason he said the rumours are continuing is because “maybe some students want the day off.”

“There are no charges even pending, that’s how low that risk is,” he said.

RCMP have confirmed that they are working closely with school officials at Mt. Boucherie Secondary School, and that charges have not been laid.

“The West Kelowna RCMP immediately launched an investigation and continue to perform an ongoing risk assessment as they work closely with the school, the student and their family at this time,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

Although incidents of school violence in Canada are fewer and further between than what’s happening in the US, the cases that do occur are being treated seriously.

A Vancouver Island high school student has been arrested for a social media post showing them firing a weapon into a small target with the caption “practicing for school.”

Police recommended charges of uttering threats and mischief.

The male student at Stelly’s Secondary School in Victoria was arrested without incident on Monday, March 5 and released on a promise to appear and undertaking with several conditions.

Sgt. Andy Duke of Central Saanich Police said they are still investigating where and when the video was made. He said the video, which was posted to Instagram, was seen by Stelly’s students who brought it to the attention to the school, who then contacted the police.

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kmichaels@kelownacapnews.com

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