Boy, 15, facing charges in weapons incident at Dartmouth High School
A 15-year-old boy was charged with three weapons offences Thursday as Dartmouth High School students reflected on a traumatic afternoon Wednesday.
The students were held in their classrooms for more than two hours as police acted on a weapons complaint.
Police cars lined the road outside the high school and ambulances were on standby after a call came into police that a student had brought a gun to school.
The building went into lockdown for more than two hours Wednesday before police found the suspect -- and an imitation weapon -- inside the school.
“The fifteen year old male youth was charged with assault with a weapon, threats, pointing a firearm, and possession of a weapon,” Halifax Regional Police spokesman Const. John MacLeod said.
For students, the possibility that someone with a weapon was in their school was terrifying. They spent the time locked inside their classrooms, wondering what would happen.
“I didn't have anything behind me, so I ended up lying inside of a cabinet,” said student Alexandra McMahan. “It was uncomfortable, but it was OK.”
“I was just scared,” said fellow student Naethon Giles. “I didn't want anybody to get hurt, and honestly I was curious to see what would happen.”
Officials say they were lucky this time, but they know it could have ended differently.
“We in Nova Scotia can't be immune to the fact that there have been some very tragic incidences that have occurred elsewhere around the world,” said Halifax Regional Centre for Education spokesman Doug Hadley. “So, we have to prepare for those things, and knowing that we are prepared provides comfort as much as it can.”
Officials say attendance was a little lower than normal Thursday, but they were expecting that. For students that did come to school, they had counsellors and experts to help them process the trauma.
“They just sort of provided counselling for students who wanted to talk about it,” Giles said. “You know, just help process what happened. It was really helpful.”
Police officers were at the school again Thursday to answer questions from students, but what helped many was being able to talk with friends.
“I was glad I was with all my friends in my class,” said student Marion Synishin. “I wasn’t alone.”
The 15-year-old will appear in court at a later date.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.