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A Balls Creek woman alleges her 11-year-old daughter was threatened with a knife at Malcolm Munroe Memorial Middle School and school officials tried to sweep it under a rug.
“I feel they didn’t handle it correctly,” said Krista White. “I think when they learned a student had a knife they should have called police right away. Why wasn’t there a lockdown like at other schools?”
White said she’s speaking out because she wants parents to know that this happened. She wasn’t even contacted and nothing was done until she found out and caused a fuss.
“If my daughter hadn’t of said anything I don’t think anything would have been done.”
White said it all began Dec. 4 when her daughter came home from school reporting she had been threatened with a knife
That morning, White said her daughter was inside the school when she saw a girl with the knife.
“Then a friend of the girl with the knife walked over and said, ‘she’s going to hurt you with it.'”
White said another girl then told her daughter she had seen the girl with the knife on the school bus being displayed it in a threatening matter as well.
“A group of the girls went to the principal’s office to report this girl had a knife.”
White said the girl in question and her daughter have a history of conflict throughout elementary school and the day before had exchanged text messages.
“Regardless of that, she brought a knife to school.”
White said apparently the vice principal only took the girl in the office, confiscated the knife and let the girl go back to class. The girl was in school all day and even took the bus home, she added.
However, during the day her daughter told her the girl who had the knife went to the office upset, saying people were talking and saying she was crazy because she took the knife to school.
“The vice-principal then went and took my daughter and her friend out of class and said they were dealing with it — responsible adults were taking care of it — and they didn’t need to talk about it anymore.”
White said that upsets her.
“They were trying to keep them quiet, sweep it under the rug.”
White said she was incredibly upset finding out all this happened yet neither her or her husband were contacted.
After hearing the story, White said her husband immediately called the school and was told the principal was in a meeting and would get back to them. However, no one ended up calling so later on that night they called the Cape Breton Regional Police. The couple were told they’d have to speak to the school liaison officer — who is only at the school Thursdays and Fridays — and put a report in.
In the morning, the principal called, but being 24 hours after the incident, White said her husband was upset and on his way to the school to talk to the liaison officer. At the school they met with the principal, vice-principal and school liaison officer.
White said they were told the school takes these incidents seriously and doesn’t play favourites.
However, White said with nothing done the day in question.
“She said it was very serious and they were going to take action. Well, what action? No one is saying anything about this.”
White said they were told the knife was a type used for carving wood. Since that meeting Dec. 5 they haven’t heard back from the school. It wasn’t until Thursday that her daughter was even interviewed by police about what happened.
White said the police officer has informed them children protection services and children’s aid were contacted as well.
Michelle MacLeod, a spokesperson for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Centre for Education, said they don’t take incidents like this lightly.
As with every incident reported, MacLeod said the school code of conduct was followed but she cannot go into it due to privacy issues.
“She said it was very serious and they were going to take action. Well what action? No one is saying anything about this.” - Krista White
The schools follow a provincial policy code of conduct, which is on their website.
“It would be outlined in our booklet what steps to take,” she said. “We take every incident very seriously and address them.”
When there are incidents involving students, MacLeod said action the school takes with any student would be a privacy matter and not discussed with other parents.
MacLeod said they work hard to provide a safe learning environment for all their students and their staff.
Desiree Magnus, spokesperson with the Cape Breton Regional Police, said police are investigating this incident. Magnus said school staff alerted police – through their school liaison officer – on Dec. 5 that there had been a situation with a knife the previous day.
The officer responded to the school and met with staff and parents, at which time they informed the police that a student was reported to have had a knife and made threats to harm another student.
The school liaison officer is investing this complaint – including taking statements from students and staff – to determine what took place.
In the meantime, White maintains the incident wasn’t handled properly and a lot of children in that school could have been harmed.
“Even the vice principal when she took that girl in the office, she didn’t know what kind of mental state that child was in. Maybe that child would have harmed her. She took the knife and sent her back to class.”