Post-incident analysis following École Chêne-Bleu gun scare


PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO

No one was injured in a January 23 event that had Pincourt’s École Secondaire Chêne-Bleu students and staff sequestered in the building following the report of a student who appeared to have a gun – but some parents are questioning the lack of communication by school staff during the roughly 90 minute lockdown period.

“It’s unthinkable that there’s no security perimeter set up,” said one Secondary 3 student’s mother who is also a police officer with the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM). “There’s also no information from the school – no email, nothing.” The woman, who declined to give her name, said the moment the school called in the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) they should have informed the parents.

The communication issue was compounded by the fact that mid-term exams are taking place this week and it had been recommended – though not mandatory – that the students leave all cellphones at home as they would not be permitted in the exam rooms.

The school issued an email late in the day indicating that police had responded to a call to the school to investigate the possible possession of a firearm. As reported January 23 on our website, the firearm was determined to be a pellet gun.

SQ spokesperson Joyce Kemp told Your Local Journal three 14-year-old boys were taken to police headquarters and questioned by the investigator. “Two were released without any charges and the third was released with a promise to appear in juvenile court at a later date. It’s up to the Crown Prosecutor to decide if, and what, charges will be laid.”

Kemp said officers followed the PRÉS (programme de réponse d'établissement sécuritaire) protocol and quickly responded, securing the site and ordering students into a lockdown within the school.

When asked about existing security measures at the school, Commission scolaire des Trois-Lacs spokesperson Colette Frappier said, “You have to understand that the event took place during lunch time. The doors were unlocked as students are free to leave and enter the school grounds. Also, these were not strangers that came in – they were students at the school.” The main entrance of the school also serves as the entry for the Pincourt Public Library.

Frappier also said the school staff was acting under the instruction of the SQ in carrying out searches within the school and ensuring the safety of the students. “Once the situation was under control, the school took the time to communicate with the parents.” She said a post-incident analysis will be done by school administration to determine what went right and what didn’t.

No information was given on the consequences the three students face within the school.

The communiqué issued by Chêne-Bleu said the school personnel adhered to the Commission scolaire des Trois-Lacs Emergency Measures act and further offered the services of its Resource Department to provide professional help, support, and listening services to students and staff as long as necessary. The school also sent an email the day after the event, reiterating that staff was available to address any concerns the students may have.

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