December 12, 2007


If we lived around Edmonton and if the kids were older and attended public school, we might be dealing with the following situation next week, as described in this excerpt from a letter from the principal sent home yesterday with students:
An Important Notice to the [School] Community

Five weeks ago, a student reported to a teacher that he had read a graffiti message in one of the school bathrooms. His recollection of the message was that it said – December 18, 2007 Massacre. Following the report of the incident to the school administration, the student and two of his friends were interviewed. They indicated that they had seen the message on the inside of a bathroom stall. When taken by the school administration to the washroom in question, the writing was no longer there. The police were notified and an investigation ensued.

At the same time as the police investigation began, the teachers were notified of the details above and directed to report any incidents, information or student conversations related to December 18th.

To date there has been no evidence uncovered either by the RCMP or by the school staff that would suggest any danger to students. Over the last four weeks, the RCMP and the school administration have followed up on three occasions where teachers have reported students introducing the subject in class. Each time the students involved appeared to be engaging in the retelling of what they have heard from others and the stories appeared to have no substance.

However, many students seem to have become aware of a story related to the writing. I have heard some of these and they represent significant exaggerations based on the full investigation conducted by the RCMP and the school administration, yet the seriousness of the concern demands action on the part of the school.

On December 18th, we will be undertaking the following:
  • Students will be entering the school through only the two front doors
  • Students will not be allowed in hallways during classes
  • Teachers will be locking their classroom door[s] throughout the day
  • Outside doors will be locked all day
  • Students will be asked to leave their back packs in their lockers
  • An increased RCMP presence will be in the school all day.
I must repeat, there has been no evidence of any real threat to the staff and students ... since the writing in the washroom was reported.

The precautions above represent a level of response that the staff at [the school] and the RCMP believe is necessary. Together we believe the safety and comfort of all concerned is our primary goal and is best served by the precautions outlined above.
Precautions or no precautions, I rather doubt I'd be sending even a 16- or 17-year-old Laura, Daniel, or Davy to be locked in a classroom for most of the day, with doubtlessly armed RCMP officers patrolling the halls.

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