N.S. students home safe after being placed on lockdown in Moncton hotel
What was supposed to be the highlight trip of their high school year quickly turned into a night for a group of band students from Lower Sackville, N.S.
The students are home safe after a performance trip to Moncton was cut short due to the heavily-armed police search for 24-year-old Justin Bourque, who is suspected of killing three Mounties and wounding two others Wednesday evening.
The events in Moncton made for an anxious day and a sleepless night for the parents of the 50 band students from Sackville High School.
“I only have one son, I just didn’t want to lose my only son,” says parent Dawn Snyder. “When the phone rings at 9:40 p.m., you kind of know something happened. Then he told us about the lockdown and what had happened.”
The Halifax Regional School Board didn’t waste any time responding.
“They had been out for dinner and they had been in a lockdown situation at the hotel where they had been eating,” explains Halifax Regional School Board spokesman Doug Hadley.
When the students learned what was happening in the city, they were herded into the hotel’s basement.
“We just hung out and stayed in the room,” explains high school student Chloe Provencal. “We just kept calm.”
“I think quite a few of them are shaken up because they were in lockdown at one of the hotels they were staying in,” adds friend Charleigh Chatterton.
It wasn’t until midnight that the bus driver was allowed to take the students back to their rooms.
“This morning when she texted me and said ‘they’re on their way’ I thought, they can’t get here soon enough,” says parent Karla Rogers. “I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and be so thankful that they’re OK.”
The students were supposed to play a concert in Amherst, N.S. Thursday afternoon, but the school faculty felt it was best to bring the students home sooner rather than later.
“There was a lot of anxiety among the students,” adds Hadley. “Their parents, of course, were concerned for them even though they weren’t anywhere near where the shootings took place in the city. It was just felt that they wanted to get home.”
Parents and friends stayed in constant contact with the band students throughout the night and into the morning.
“I was extremely worried for them,” adds Chatterton. “I don’t know how to really explain it.”
Despite the unfolding chaos, students say they never felt like they were in danger.
“We all felt safe with each other,” says Provencal. “We knew it wasn’t right where we were staying, so we were alright.”
The school board will offer counselling to any student who feels they need it.
With files from CTV’S Matt Woodman