Mounties arrested a 15-year-old who allegedly entered Nanaimo District Secondary School with a knife on Monday, sparking concern from students, staff and parents over a potentially violent incident.
The school issued a statement to parents saying there was briefly a hold and secure for about 30 minutes due to a “threatening individual” with a knife.
Around 11 a.m., school administration and staff received a report that a person with a knife was in the school and RCMP were called.
After school staff arrived, the person left the building and was apprehended off school grounds. The hold and secure was lifted at 11:35 a.m., according to a statement from the Nanaimo Ladysmith School District.
Hold and secure refers to the procedure where school perimeter doors are locked and no one is allowed to enter or leave the building. Classes continue as normal.
Nanaimo RCMP tell CHEK News that after the person ran away, they found a 15-year-old suspect who is believed to be the person who entered the school with a knife, as well as the suspected weapon nearby. The arrested youth is not a student at the school.
“Very disturbing, very troubling. We know it was witnessed by a number of students who have also produced video,” said R/Const. Gary O’Brien, spokesperson for the Nanaimo RCMP, in an interview with CHEK News.
“We’re asking that if anybody has a video to please contact their school liaison officer, or contact or non-emergency line. That’s key evidence for an incident that we have to investigate.”
O’Brien says he knows some students were very troubled by the violence, and school counsellors are in contact with students.
The suspect was released from custody to the care of his parents.
A video sent to CHEK News appears to show a person with their face covered holding a long knife in the school.
Someone off-camera tells the person to put the knife away, and they do. Then two others start a fight with the individual and in the process, his face coverings and hoodie get torn off. The person then pulls the knife out again.
A teacher shows up and gets between the students and the person with a knife. People off-camera then tell the person to run away, and he does.
O’Brien says it is not believed that the knife was used during the fight and that it was put away when fighting occurred.
The video was quickly shared among students at the school.
“It could’ve been pretty bad but I don’t think he was intending on using the knife. I think he was just using it as a threatening device,” said Wyatt Blackman, a student who saw the video.
“Once he put the machete away I think that the other student when he came in and attacked him again I think that was horrible, like really dangerous… it could’ve been so much worse,” said Marcus Nguyen, another student.
The school district says it’s also investigating and it can’t recall the last time a threat came from within a school.
The incident is leaving students and parents unsettled and the community is relieved that no one was hurt, or worse.