Death threat at Drinkwater School in Duncan causes uproar

According to a parent who attended an information session, one Grade 5 student threatened to kill another on Monday, May 30.

Drinkwater Elementary School staff are getting assistance from the school district and North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP as they deal with a violent incident that took place last Wednesday.

According to a parent who attended an information session at the school, one Grade 5 student threatened to kill another on Monday, May 30. Two days later, two students “jabbed” another with a pair of scissors during the lunch hour.

The school’s policy for dealing with such incidents was put into action immediately, and police became involved on Thursday. All students involved remained at the school for the next two days, although they were on “in-school suspension” and isolated from the rest of the population while an investigation was conducted.

They are now being kept away from the school indefinitely as staff decide what to do next.

In a letter sent home to parents, principal Karen Petersen acknowledged there was “an incident involving a threat toward another student” at the school, but no one was hurt.

“As part of the process in dealing with this incident in a safe and thorough way, our local RCMP school liaison officer came to support our students, staff and families,” Petersen said.

“The incident has been worked through and dealt with, and ongoing support continues with the students and families directly involved. Please feel reassured that students at Drinkwater are safe.”

The incident is isolated, Petersen told parents, and involved only a few students. Staff do not believe there is an ongoing threat.

Cpl. Cari Lougheed, from the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP, said the situation is “still being assessed and under investigation.”

She said the meetings between the RCMP, parents and school staff continued through the day on Tuesday.

“We’re not prepared to release any statements on this case until we are through meeting with everybody involved,” Lougheed said.

The school organized a series of parent information sessions for Monday and Tuesday where parents were able to ask questions and talk about concerns.

Repeated attempts by the Citizen over two days to contact school district officials got no response.

Many parents who were picking up their children after school on Monday said they knew only a little about what actually happened and who was involved.

Wally Gait said it appears the school wanted to keep the incident “in-house.”

“It looks to be an isolated incident,” he said while waiting for his children. “I’m not worried about the safety of my kids here.”

Brian Werk, who has two young children at Drinkwater, said he was a “little bit concerned.”

“My wife has been following it closer then me, and she doesn’t believe the school handled it right,” he said. “My wife said she wishes the principal had notified the school’s parents of the incident before she did. But, having said that, I don’t think my kids are in any danger while at school.”

Dave Wermer, who was picking up his nephew from school, said he can’t imagine kids that young seriously wanting to hurt one another.

“I think they watch too much television and play too many video games,” he said.