HALIFAX – A group of Sackville high school students is home safe and sound following a trip to Moncton that coincided with the fatal shooting of three Mounties and manhunt for the accused killer.
About 45 students and five chaperones from Sackville High were in Moncton for an end-of-year band trip. The group had left Tuesday and was scheduled to return Thursday afternoon.
The group was out for dinner when news broke about the gunman, who shot five RCMP officers, killing three of them.
“We knew it wasn’t right where we were so we were alright,” said student Chloe Provencal, who was on the trip.
The group was taken to a nearby hotel, far from where the shooting and manhunt was unfolding, where they stayed for several hours on lockdown.
“We all just hung out and stayed in our room. We kept calm,” Provencal said.
Halifax Regional School Board spokesperson Doug Hadley said the principal of Sackville High School made the decision Wednesday night to bring the students home first thing on Thursday.
“They would have known that the parents were feeling some great anxiety, as well as the students,” Hadley said.
Parent Karla Rogers said she was a ball of nerves while waiting to hear from her daughter who was on the trip. She first heard about the shooting and manhunt on Facebook.
“All the media was all over Facebook saying there was something drastic happening in Moncton. My heart stopped because I knew my daughter was there with friends,” Rogers said.
Rogers said she texted her daughter, who replied within a few minutes saying the students were safe.
“To have your own child there, your heart breaks,” she said.
“This morning when she texted me saying they’re on their way, they can’t get here soon enough. I want to wrap my arms around her and be so thankful they’re ok.”
Parent Dawn Snyder also waited anxiously in the parking lot of Sackville High for a couple hours, awaiting her son Jonathan.
She first heard about the shooting from him, when he called close to 10 p.m. on Wednesday.
“He doesn’t always phone but when the phone rings 20 [minutes] to 10 p.m., you know something happened,” she said.
She said her son did not say much on the phone.
“He seemed to be a little bit upset and I can understand that.”
Snyder was also emotional as she recalled the thoughts that went through her head.
“I only have one son, I just didn’t want to lose my only son. these events you have no idea what’s going on.”
“I’m very relieved my son is alive and he’s fine but what a sad day.”
Many parents rushed through the parking lot to greet their children once the bus returned to the school.
Hadley says the school board will not be calling in counselors to speak with the students but rather staff will be on the lookout for students experiencing any difficulties or problems.
© Shaw Media, 2014