Security at Abbotsford schools to be reviewed after fatal stabbing

Abbotsford Senior has police and security guards on site for the week

Superintendent Kevin Godden has said the school district will undergo a review of its safety protocols after two girls were stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary last week.

Security at Abbotsford Senior Secondary is noticeably tighter this week, after the double stabbing inside the school last Tuesday left one student dead and another injured in hospital.

Private security guards and Abbotsford Police officers will be posted at the school throughout the week.

All doors, except for the front entrance, are now locked – a protocol now in effect at all Abbotsford school district schools which previously only applied to elementary and middle schools.

Jami Kirr, a Grade 11 student who was friends with the now-deceased Letisha Reimer, said it felt “a lot more scary” going back to class on Monday morning.

“You don’t feel as safe as you used to,” he said.

Despite the violent event perpetrated by a man who walked off the street and into the school, the district’s superintendent insists that Abbotsford Senior and other schools are “safer than virtually anywhere else,” simply by virtue of the sheer number of adults on the property.

“However,” said Kevin Godden, “I think when something like this occurs, it shakes your confidence in that notion.”

The police and security presence – there for the week – functions to increase the number of visible adults on the school site.

Godden said these are interim measures, while the district deals with the immediate aftermath of the stabbing incident. A review of the district’s security protocols will get underway next week, he said.

“[The review] needs to be done without the cloud of the tragedy hanging over the people that are doing the work,” Godden said.

Response training, everyday procedures and even potential building design changes will be examined to determine what, if anything, could be done to make any future violent incidents less likely, he said.

But Godden said there is likely no measure that could guarantee preventing a similar event in the future.

“It’s to the same extent that you would be able to guarantee that you would prevent this assailant from doing this in a mall or at a bus stop or on the street somewhere,” he said.

Such random violent attacks “are one of the most concerning types of incidents,” wrote APD Const. Ian MacDonald, in an email. “The randomness and lack of connection between suspect and victim means that essentially anyone could be a victim at any time.”

“Fortunately,” he said. “These are some of the most rare occurrences.”

MacDonald said that citizens need to continue on living their lives but encouraged them to remain vigilant and note suspicious or unusual activities in the community.

“I encourage people to trust their gut feelings – if something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t.”

MacDonald said that the police presence at Abbotsford Senior, and other district schools, is intended to support students and staff as they work on transitioning back to a regular school schedule.

He also said that the police departments is always ready to respond quickly to any future calls.

“It’s what we do,” he said.

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