A suspected explosive device in Burns Lake’s William Konkin Elementary School was removed by the police on Feb. 28. That afternoon, the BC RCMP’s Explosives Disposal Unit confirmed that the device was inert and could not have exploded, and have removed it for disposal.
Students and staff were evacuated in the morning, when the school’s principal reported to the local RCMP detachment right away when she learned of the device, said Cpl. Aaron Semmler, acting detachment commander for Burns Lake RCMP, in a news release.
He noted that their reaction time was excellent, and it was very reassuring she was able to quickly account for the safety of all staff and students, he said. There were no injuries to any staff or students.
“We took the step of calling for the Explosive Disposal Unit to attend, out of an abundance of caution,” Semmler said. He also added his appreciation for the cooperation of parents, staff and students.
According to a school district letter sent home to all WKE parents on March 1 regarding the event, the “realistic” device was brought to school by a primary student; the school did not receive any threats.
All classroom teachers also debriefed students on their good work with evacuation, how it’s okay to feel afraid and talk about the event, as well as the lack of threats or dangerous individuals involved and why specialized experts were called. Students were encouraged to ask questions and counsellors are on hand to assist.
As this investigation is active right now, the RCMP will not be able to comment on the nature of the device, or how it was brought into the school. At 4 p.m., the school was determined safe and open for school operations as usual.