A handful of North Langley public schools were on lock-down Friday morning after a decommissioned rifle was taken to Walnut Grove Secondary.
Langley RMCP Cpl. Craig van Herk said WGSS along with nearby elementary schools were locked down.
“We received reports of an adult, a man, walking through the front doors with a rifle,” he explained.
In addition to the police called, the schools went on lock-down.
The first RCMP on scene started searching the secondary school. Shortly after, more police arrived and started interviewing, soon finding out details, he said.
“[They] quickly learned it appeared to be a staff member bringing a rifle for the Remembrance Day ceremony,” van Herk said. “It was a decommissioned rifle.”
The lock-down lasted less than one hour.
Van Herk explained that the lock-down was initiated out of an abundance of caution, because the situation involved schools.
“The school immediately locked themselves down and secured it, and because it was a 911 call and given the situation, we rushed to the scene. Responding officers entered immediately and began searching as they searched the additional officers arrived, and they began working to check video and ask a few more questions about where the male would have gone,” he said.
Police located and secured the rifle.
“There had been some initial reports that was an actual active shooter and but no, not the case,” van Herk emphasized.
He added that it’s never a good idea to bring weapons or even replicas to public spaces.
“We completely understand especially this time of year. We do want to honour our veterans and have significant impactful Remembrance Day ceremonies,” he said. “We don’t want to diminish that at all, and I believe that the staff member there had the best of intentions, but we do have to look at bigger picture.”
There were ways this could have been done without prompting this response, he said.
Van Herk praised the school community for its handling of the situation.
“Walnut Grove Secondary School responded to their lock-down situation to an actual live lock-down scenario incredibly well,” he said. “Their students did well. Their staff did well. Their administration did well.”
Schools do practice various emergency scenarios as part of their emergency drills.
He added that emergency response team members were also on scene quickly because they were in the area. Many local police also responded to the incident.
“So we when that type of file comes in and comes across the air, literally [it’s] all hands on deck.”
The Langley School District posted a notice on its website after the incident:
”This morning, at approximately 9:15 a.m., Walnut Grove Secondary School was placed under lock-down out of an abundance of caution by school administration and under the direction of RCMP.
“The school went into lock-down after receiving reports of a potential threat on school grounds. After approximately one hour, the lock-down was lifted. With the help of police, the situation was resolved. All students and staff in the building followed emergency procedures and were safe.
“A lock-down involves gathering students and staff into secure rooms, closing, and securing the building, turning off the lights, and other safety measures.
“As always, the quick response of students, staff and the RCMP was appreciated. Students and staff should be commended for their calmness and cooperation. Supports for any students that require assistance are available if needed. Health and safety continue to be our top priority.”
The school district is investigating the matter, and a spokesperson noted that weapons, including replicas, are prohibited on school grounds.