The brutal, senseless slaying of a student at Abbotsford secondary last week has sent shock waves throughout school districts across the province and beyond, said Jim Cambridge, superintendent for the Sooke School District.
“Although it’s an unusual event, everyone was just shocked by the randomness,” Cambridge said regarding the attack on Nov. 1. that killed Letisha Reimer, 13, and seriously injured her 14-year-old friend. “It hits a nerve with every parent and educator in the province, because we treat student safety so seriously. Our hearts and prayers go out to those families.”
He has spoken to several parents that have expressed their anxiety about school safety since the attack.
School District 62 is fortunate in that regard because a former RCMP officer has been in charge of school security for a number of years and goes over security plans regularly, Cambridge said. In addition, the district holds annual lockdown drills, as well as earthquake and fire drills and goes over hold and secure and parent release procedures of part of its overall emergency preparedness plan.
“I’m glad that we have been practicing standardized drills for all grades as well,” he noted. “By the time students reach the higher grades they’re very well versed in the language.”
The lockdown drills, which take place at all schools at different times, are ‘top of mind for every principal,” he said, adding there’s a possibility some schools may adjust the scheduling based on input from parent advisory councils.