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Child used fake gun in threat towards elementary school: RCMP

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Child used fake gun in threat towards elementary school: RCMP
Parents and students are coming forward with concerns of public safety after an alleged threat was made towards Pilot Butte School last month. – Nov 3, 2022

A number of families and students are concerned for their children’s safety after an alleged gun threat was made towards Pilot Butte Elementary School last month.

Lydia Riopka said her daughter received a Snapchat from a student in October that showed a gun pointed at the school.

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In a statement on Thursday however, RCMP confirmed it was a toy gun.

“On Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, White Butte RCMP received the report of a child under 12 years of age threatening a school shooting at an elementary school in Pilot Butte, SK,” the statement from RCMP read.

“Officers located a plastic toy firearm inside the residence that matched the description provided in the original report. Officers seized the item and were able to confirm no firearms existed in the residence.”

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The threat at the time felt very real for Riopka, even though the gun turned out to be fake.

Riopka said she took the information to RCMP and to the school board with her concerns regarding protocols in these situations.

“We didn’t see any sort of protocol in our school that I saw,” she said. “Everything from the teachers not being informed after the initial threat had happened to simple things like locking the door.”

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She said the process of telling the school about the threats was a real eye-opener to the lack of actions taken.

“There have been lots of incidents that have happened, and so we can’t ignore that there’s potential for other incidents,” Riopka said. “This opened up my eyes and I went forward and I asked the questions about like, what’s being done? What are you doing to ensure the safety of our children when they go into that school?”

A spokesperson for the Prairie Valley School Division (PVSD) said the division was made aware of the threat in October.

“The safety of our students, staff and everyone in our schools and community is of the utmost importance to Prairie Valley,” PVSD said in a statement. “While we can’t comment on issues involving individual students, when a threat is made it is taken seriously, investigated and responded to appropriately.”

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They said they have staff and a dedicated team trained in violence threat and risk assessment that works with school officials and outside agencies to determine what actions, supports and interventions will be taken when a threat is made.

When the Ministry of Education was asked for a comment on the threat, they said “The Ministry of Education is aware of an ongoing situation at Pilot Butte School and has been working closely with the school division, who are in contact with the RCMP.”

RCMP said no charges could be laid due to the child being under 12 years of age.

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