Student charged with attempted murder in stabbings at Halifax-area high school
A 15-year-old is facing a number of charges, including attempted murder, after two staff members were stabbed at a high school in Bedford, N.S., Monday morning.
The teen, who will not be identified due to their age, appeared in youth court Tuesday to face the following charges:
- two counts of attempted murder
- two counts of aggravated assault
- two counts of possession of a weapon dangerous to public peace
- two counts of carrying a concealed weapon
- possession of a prohibited weapon
- possession of a weapon knowing it is unauthorized
The accused is due back in court for a bail hearing on Thursday.
The Public Prosecution Service told CTV News the teen will be tried as a minor, but the Crown will be seeking an adult sentence if they are convicted.
The charges stem from a stabbing incident at Charles P. Allen High School.
Halifax Regional Police responded to the school around 9:20 a.m. Monday.
Police allege the teen, who is a student at the school, stabbed two employees inside the school and then fled the building.
Officers took the youth, who was also injured, into custody in the area around 9:30 a.m. The teen was then taken to hospital with non-life-threatening stab wounds.
The two employees were sent to hospital with serious injuries.
“The situation was brought under control quickly and we applaud the quick actions school staff and first responders who were at their professional and personal best in their response,” said Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
It isn't clear how the teen was injured. During the news conference, police said they won’t be commenting on rumours that the teen’s wounds were self-inflicted.
“There are many questions members of the public have, and we ask that people avoid speculation,” said Kinsella. “We can assure you the investigation is ongoing and we are looking at every aspect and we will conduct a full and thorough investigation.”
The two employees remain in hospital. Police say they are in serious, but stable condition.
The identities of the employees have been not been released.
Police say they are treating the stabbings as an isolated incident.
“An incident of this nature is traumatic, not just for those involved but everyone in the community,” said Kinsella.
“But it is important to remember that this incident does not define our community, it does not define our schools.”
Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact them at 902-490-5020 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
SCHOOL REOPENS, CLASSES CANCELLED
Charles P. Allen High School was placed under a hold-and-secure order while police responded to the scene Monday morning.
The school remained closed Monday while police continued their investigation.
Charles P. Allen reopened Tuesday afternoon, but classes were cancelled.
During a live news conference Tuesday afternoon, Lindsey Bunin, the communications officer for the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE), said the decision to cancel classes for the full day Tuesday wasn't made until teachers returned to the school Tuesday morning.
"We welcomed our staff back to the school this morning. There was a team on site of approximately 20-plus mental health professionals, school councillors, school psychologists, SchoolsPlus professionals on site to help everyone work through the tragic and traumatic events of yesterday," said Bunin.
"As the morning progressed, our on site crisis team determined that the staff required some more time to get through what they had been through yesterday before they welcomed students back into the classroom. So, the decision was made to cancel classes for the afternoon but to, of course, keep the school open. We wanted to make sure that everyone had access to the supports that they require as they work through this time."
According to Bunin, about 15 students attended the school Tuesday afternoon to work with support teams.
She says the plan is to have school reopen on Wednesday, but admits everything is "fluid right now."
"We're just trying to be very responsive to what the community needs," said Bunin.
"I certainly wasn't there, but I know that its been a difficult circumstance. They're [the teachers] understandably stressed and have anxiety from what happened yesterday. So, we're just working through that with them and making sure that they have the supports they require."
In a statement to families Monday evening, Principal Stephanie Bird initially said classes would resume Tuesday and follow a “mini day.”
“We know from past experiences and the advice of experts that returning to the routine of school is in the best interest of our students,” said Bird in her statement Monday.
“It provides a safe space for students to access supports related to their emotional well-being and their academic achievement.”
However, the HRCE released a statement Tuesday morning, confirming that the school would reopen, but classes were cancelled, based on recommendations from its crisis team.
“I sincerely apologize for the late notice and for any inconvenience,” said Steve Gallagher, the HRCE’s acting regional executive director.
Supports were still available for students and staff.
Meanwhile, police say they will maintain a presence at the school as the investigation continues and the community takes time to heal.
“This is going to be a day-by-day consideration,” said Kinsella. “We will be there as long as we need to be.”
Roughly 1,700 students attend Charles P. Allen High School.
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