A 15-year-old student was charged with two counts of attempted murder on Tuesday after two staff members at his suburban Halifax high school were stabbed the day before.
Halifax Regional Police released a statement on Tuesday saying both victims were recovering in hospital in “serious but stable” condition.
A teacher at the school said one of the two victims – a deputy headmistress – sent reassuring text messages to staff on Monday morning after a successful operation, and the other victim – a secretary – was doing well.
Police have confirmed that the accused, a student at Charles P. Allen High School, Bedford, was treated in hospital for stab wounds, but it is unclear at this time how he sustained the injuries .
Police add on Tuesday that the boy has also been charged with two counts of aggravated assault, possession of a dangerous weapon, carrying a concealed weapon, possession of a prohibited weapon and willful possession of a weapon. unauthorized.
No details were released on the type of weapon used, but at least one witness reported seeing the suspect running from the school with a knife before being surrounded by officers.
The teenager appeared in Youth Court in Halifax on Tuesday morning with a bandage on the front of his neck. A bail hearing has been set for Thursday. The accused, a minor, cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
During this brief hearing, prosecutor Terry Nickerson told the court that he expected the boy to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
The prosecutor said outside court that “at this stage” the Crown has given notice that it will seek an adult sentence, although it was still early in the process.
Police say officers were dispatched to Charles P. Allen High School at 9:20 a.m. Monday morning and a suspect was arrested outside the school 11 minutes later.
The school was due to reopen on Tuesday with psychological support offered to students and staff, but afternoon classes have been cancelled. Approximately 1,700 students in grades 10 to 12 attend this high school, one of the largest in the province.
A major trend in Canada?
Education expert Paul Bennett said Tuesday that violent incidents in schools appear to be more common across Canada — and Nova Scotia is no exception.
A professor of pedagogy at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Bennett cited statistics recently released by the province’s Department of Education, which showed 13,776 reports of physical violence in elementary to 12th grade schools. year in 2021-2022. This is an increase of almost 23% over the previous year.
“Punches and knives have re-emerged in high schools across Canada following pandemic closures, and violence is now commonplace in classrooms, hallways, schoolyards and parking lots, he said Tuesday in an interview. It’s a strong trend. »
Education Minister Becky Druhan said the data she had seen showed that over the past five years reports of violent incidents had remained relatively stable.
Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella said Tuesday he considers this type of violent incident to be “very rare.” Still, he said police were “seeing indicators [de violence dans les écoles] across the country that may cause us concern.
Lindsey Bunin, spokesperson for the Halifax School Board, also said it was an isolated incident.
Teachers in shock
Meanwhile, a school staff member said teachers are furious because they feel the administration is not giving them the support they want in these difficult times. “The teachers are shocked to have to come back to class” so quickly, said a teacher who requested anonymity.
He said staff returned to school on Tuesday with the understanding that classes would resume in the afternoon, but classes were eventually cancelled, once it became clear teachers were still under pressure. shock.
Ms Bunin said a team of 20 therapists were at the school to help staff members, but she said those professionals determined they needed more time, so classes were suspended. canceled Tuesday afternoon.
Plans were in place to reopen the school on Wednesday, but that plan was “fluid”, Ms Bunin said.