Brechin Elementary School locked down for knife threat

NANAIMO – Police talk down student with knife after locking down Brechin Elementary School.

Brechin Elementary School was in lockdown after a student grabbed a knife and threatened to harm himself Thursday morning.

Mounties were called to the school, 510 Millstone Ave., at about 10:30 a.m. after the 11-year-old entered a cooking class, picked up a knife and ran outside with it.

Police found the boy near a fence in the school’s play field near Eberts Street where several members, including trained negotiators, talked with the boy for about 90 minutes to convince him to drop the knife. The boy was taken into custody at about noon.

All students at the school were kept locked inside their classrooms for the duration of the incident and police stayed in touch with the school district to work up a plan to evacuate the school if the situation dragged on.

The boy’s guardians were at the school and were kept updated by the police.

“We’re glad it was resolved the way it was,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. “Because of his age, of course, there will be no charges. It’s totally being [treated as] a family issue, but they are being assisted by numerous resources within the community.”

Donna Reimer, school district spokeswoman, said Brechin Elementary School had also been under lockdown about two weeks prior to Thursday’s incident for a different situation involving another student “… exhibiting some inappropriate behaviours outside the school building.”

There are numerous reasons a school could be locked down, Reimer said, and there are on average about six or seven lockdowns in the district per school year.

“We really like parents to understand that lockdown is to keep students safe,” Reimer said. “That’s why we do it. They’re safe in their classroom when the doors are locked and they’re in their classroom with their teacher and that’s the safest place for them to be when there’s something going on outside.”

Reimer said it is unusual for an incident to force a lockdown as lengthy as Thursday’s incident.