“Disturbing” was the word used by the officer in charge of Halifax RCMP to describe the violence that swept through several of the municipality’s schools over the last week.
He was referring to the brawls that broke out first at Auburn Drive High School last Friday and then at Cole Harbour District High School on Monday after fire alarms were pulled, as well as a bomb threat at Lockview High School in Fall River Thursday.
“It’s never a very pretty picture when you have a lot of people out and tensions are running high and aggressive behaviour is being observed,” Supt. Darrell Beaton said Thursday inside Halifax Regional Police headquarters on Gottingen Street, where he met with HRP Chief Frank Beazley, Halifax Regional School Board chairman Irvine Carvery and superintendent Carole Olsen.
Carvery, who was elected to the school board last October, called the meeting to better understand what protocol is followed by police and schools when students start fighting.
“When you’re dealing with a school situation, your concern is that the students are going to be protected, that public safety is maintained (and) that you can manage the situation quickly,” Beaton said.
Carvery said after hearing what Beaton and Beazley had to say, he’s satisfied with how officers dealt with the difficult situations that unfolded, but added communication between schools, police and the community needs work.
Olsen said senior staff from the school board and both police departments will continue to meet to further foster those relationships. Beaton said police will continue to fine-tune its protocol for school responses.
After the fights at Auburn High and Cole Harbour, alarms went off at several other schools this week in what seemed to be a copycat game so students could be dismissed early.
“We see this whether it’s bomb scares during exam time (or) any type of major incident,” Beazley said.
Halifax Regional School Board spokesman Doug Hadley said another fire alarm was pulled Thursday at John Martin Junior High in Dartmouth.