Charges laid after school lockdown

Charges have been laid against a youth after a secure school incident at St. James High School last week. – File photo


PORT AUX BASQUES — At approximately 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 22, St. James Regional High engaged their secure school procedures in response to a situation that unfolded at the school. RCMP happened to already be in the building and moved quickly to deal with the situation.

“This afternoon, St. James Regional High went into secure school mode to help manage an individual in personal crisis. The school went into secure school mode on the advice of local RCMP, who were present in the building on another matter. Police assisted the school with their situation to ensure students were safe for the duration,” said Cheryl Gullage, Manager of Communications for the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD).

The issue was resolved safely at the school and the secure school procedures were soon lifted, with one youth being taken into custody.

“Police remained with the administration at the school until the matter was concluded and the individual removed from the building. School resumed the regular schedule for the remainder of the day, and dismissed as per their normal routine,” stated Gullage.

Later that day, the RCMP advised that there was no risk to public safety at that time, and one youth had been taken into custody. The investigation was moving forward, and the RCMP said they would provide an update should any charges be laid.

The NLESD could not release any information that might be relevant to a police investigation, but was able to clarify some details. Only one person was removed from school premises by the police, and despite social media rumours, no weapons were involved.

“We can tell you one individual was removed from the building – and no weapons were involved. The secure school was in effect for about one hour and parents were notified following the event, as is standard protocol in such situations,” advised Gullage.

Students were understandably shaken and the school will be stepping in to offer counselling services.

“As you may know, the school is closed today due to a water issue in the town. Counselling services will be available when students return Friday (Sept. 24),” said Gullage.

By Friday the RCMP had also issued a statement about what happened at St. James High School last Wednesday.

“At approximately 12:30 p.m., while at the school for an unrelated matter, RCMP were notified of a threat made against the school. The source of the threat, a student within the school, was quickly identified and was taken into custody without incident. At this time, no weapon is believed to have been involved in the threat to cause harm to the staff and students of the school,” stated Corporal Jolene Garland, RCMP Media Relations Officer.

Garland explained that the school engaged their secure school procedures to limit movement in the building.

“During the RCMP response, St. James Regional High School was placed in secure school mode, limiting the movement of students and staff within the school. The safety of students and staff was paramount during the police response and no one was injured. No other individuals are believed to be involved and there is no further risk to the community or the school at this time,” said Garland.

The youth attended court the next day and was later released.

“The youth, who is charged with uttering threats and mischief under $5000.00, damage to property, attended court on September 23, 2021, and was released from custody. The name of the youth involved is being withheld in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act,” advised Garland.

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