Parents concerned over lack of information given after gun found at school in St. Boniface
Published Friday, September 20, 2019 5:59PM CST
Last Updated Saturday, September 21, 2019 9:41AM CST
A gun found near a school in St. Boniface has prompted concern about the lack of information sent to parents by the school.
On Sept. 12, a student at École Henri-Bergeron found a gun near the school during recess. The student reported it to a teacher and police were called.
Winnipeg police confirmed that an officer seized an antique rifle at a residential property next to the school. Police chose not to release that information.
“We’re not going to say it’s a gun until we’ve confirmed it is,” said Const. Rob Carver with the Winnipeg Police Service. “In this case it was a one-off situation, there was simply no reason to put that out and alarm people when it was done and over -- it had been found, there was no threat, it wasn't loaded.”
“I get people are unhappy, but that’s the way this unfolded and I think that’s the way it needed to go,” said Carver.
Parent says she didn’t receive enough information
Marion Willis is raising her 9-year-old granddaughter who's in grade 4 at École Henri-Bergeron.
She said the information she received from the school was vague and made no mention of a gun.
“I have a right as a parent to know that’s what it was, right?” said Willis. “The fact that they didn't actually tell parents that it was a firearm was actually very disturbing.”
Willis said on the day of the incident she received an email from the school, which read in part: “This afternoon, during lunch recess, a student, who was on school property, noticed a suspicious object on a residential property."
Willis says she first heard about the gun from her granddaughter when she got home from school.
“Our granddaughter would report to us that what was found was actually a firearm – which is alarming,” said Willis.
Willis believes parents had the right to know what was happening right from the start.
“What's alarming about this is not that a firearm was found, it's that the school didn't think it was important enough to tell us that it was actually a firearm,” said Willis.
Willis said she received an update from the school with more information five days after the incident – with mention of the gun. She said that's the information parents should have been given right from the start.
School division responds
The Louis Riel School Division said it informed parents about the incident online through a post in the school’s parent portal.
In a statement to CTV News Friday the division said in part:
“At the time of posting, we hadn't yet with clarity confirmed with the WPS what we should be communicating,” it said, referring to the police service.
“I can also confirm that the principal of the school visited each classroom on Tuesday, September 17 to talk with students about what they saw or heard concerning last week’s discovery.”
“The principal and staff of the school continue to be supported by the board office with ongoing verbal and written communication with students and parents.”