The Kamloops-Thompson school district has drawn up a list of actions it will take in a bid to combat nefarious activity on the Beattie elementary school grounds.
Beattie elementary is near the corner of McGill Road and Columbia Street, the intersection from which a series of motels run down Columbia, with some of those motels the focus of police due to various criminal activity in and around the businesses.
In October, there were two hold-and-secure measures implemented at Beattie due to police operations in the area — one involving a shooting and another concerning a domestic dispute. In neither incident were students or staff in danger, but the hold-and-secure measures needed to be taken in case the situations escalated.
(There are differences between a school under lockdown and a school under a hold and secure protocol.Part of a lockdown procedure involves school doors being locked and students hiding under their desks or in other parts of the school and staying away from windows, which are to be shuttered. A hold and secure procedure is different, as classes are allowed to continue as normal inside the school, but the doors are still locked and no one is allowed in or out of the building.)
Those two incidents — and ongoing activity, from robberies to stabbings to thefts to drug use and vandalism — have prompted the Lower Sahali Community Association and the Beattie parent advisory committee to contact the authorities in an effort to tackle the problems in the area.
On Oct. 23, school district staff met with members of the Beattie elementary PAC, Beattie’s principal and representatives of the Kamloops RCMP and the City of Kamloops.
Supt. Terry Sullivan said the primary concern is regarding activities on school grounds, particularly when the sun sets, involving drug use and drug paraphernalia being left behind.
“More needs to be done to provide a safe and secure environment for students and staff at the school,” Sullivan said.
From that meeting came some steps to be taken, with the city already serving nuisance property notices to the problem motels.
The school district will also be taking measures, Sullivan said, which include:
• Installing LED lights in the back of the building as LED lights are less desirable for undesirables;
• Enclosing some spaces at the school, including under stairs;
• Installing cameras;
• Re-keying the school;
• Fixing damage to the property;
• Stepping up night patrols by school district security.
Trustee John O’Fee called the Oct. 23 discussion “a productive problem-solving meeting.”