By Kirk Starratt
At least one parent is concerned over lack of communication during a brief lockdown at Northeast Kings Education Centre earlier this month
Penny Dykens, who works at nearby Apple Tree Landing Children’s Centre, has a son in Grade 6 at NKEC and another son attending Glooscap Elementary.
When Northeast Kings was locked down the morning of Nov. 9, the Canning resident quickly realized the children’s centre and elementary school weren’t affected, so assumed there was a threat at NKEC.
Dykens said she became aware of the lockdown situation through social media and called the school. She said she was told it would be breaching confidentiality to disclose any information, but not to be concerned because the situation had corrected itself.
Dykens said she had hoped a note would be sent home explaining what had happened, but no information was sent.
“I understand confidentiality, but if you’re locking down a school in a small town, word gets out,” she said.
Dykens said some parents were receiving text messages from their children and getting some information through social media, but it would ease parents’ minds to be contacted directly. She said this wasn’t a great impression for her first dealing with the school.
Annapolis Valley Regional School Board superintendent Margo Tait said the RCMP contacted the school principal the morning of Nov. 9 about a potential risk at the school. The principal was advised to institute a lockdown as a precautionary measure.
“The RCMP arrived and the situation was dealt with,” Tait said, adding that the school is grateful for the police assistance.
“Students and staff were safe throughout the situation.”
Tait said there is a lockdown procedure for schools. In these situations, incoming calls are answered as staff is available and a standard response with minimal information is given. Considering there are approximately 1,000 students at Northeast Kings, the volume of incoming calls during such a scenario could be significant, so a standard, brief response is useful.
“Any parent who is concerned is encouraged to call the principal of the school to debrief,” Tait said.
RCMP spokesman Const. Blair MacMurtery confirmed Nov. 9 there were no threats against the school, but a short lockdown was used while trying to confirm the location of a student.