Emergency crews at Kelly road Secondary | Photo by Cole Kelly, MyPGNow

Suspicious trucks, threats, and emergency response teams have all been part of life in School District 57 over the past three weeks.

On Thursday, March 7th, a lockdown occurred at Kelly Road Secondary due to a man in mental distress in a nearby home on Handlen Road; firearms were believed to be involved.

Less than 24 hours later (Friday, March 8th), Polaris Montessori Elementary was evacuated due to a threat. The next school day (Monday, March 11th) another threat was made to a childcare centre in the vicinity of Polaris, causing a hold a secure situation at the school.     

Preceding those events, three incidents of a suspicious white pickup truck were reported to police in the space of two weeks, the first of which involved a student who was allegedly followed on February 19th.

School District 57 Superintendent Marilyn Marquis-Forster spoke to these with MyPGNow.com.  

I’m a parent too, I can appreciate parents feeling unsettled, we send our brightest and best creations off to school every day, and we want them to be safe. The district shares that commitment and concern.”

While the timeline of the events may seem alarming, Forster pointed out that the incident that resulted in a heavy police presence at Kelly Road was not a problem at the school itself.

“The series of events began last Thursday when we had a community incident that was taking place next to one of our schools. We went into emergency procedures designed to ensure the safety of our students and staff under the direction of the RCMP. It was a fairly significant community situation and it was a happy day at the end of the day.”

“It reminds us when these things happen at school that none of us has ultimate control over safety. When we get into cars we take risks, when we go out into the public we take risks,” said Forster.  

“Fortunately here in Canada, we are so safe that any suggestion that we are not, has an emotional response for us, as it should. We want to feel that safety is the norm and what took place at Polaris were precautionary measures in response to information that the police had received.”

In regards to the three incidents of suspicious white trucks, Forster said it’s a good thing that these are getting reported. 

“Erring on the side of caution is how we want to be. If we find something suspicious or concerning, reporting it and having it followed up is exactly the thing to do, we want to have a community where people are looking out for each other.”

Overall, Forster said the district’s experience with the police has been positive.

“We’re so very, very fortunate to have a working relationship with our local RCMP, we continue to appreciate that and we continue to be the kinds of citizens we hope they’re going to want to work with. We look to them as community safety officers and they look to us as the folks that know our schools, we greatly appreciate that.”

With March break just a few days away, Forster said, “I’m hoping that our schools can function happily for the rest of the week and move into the holiday. I think everyone needs a break after the winter we’ve had.”