Superintendent praises staff involved in Penticton school lockdown

Man with a knife in area of Uplands Elementary on Thursday prompted school to lock its doors just moments before the final bell

RCMP logo

RCMP logo

Students at a Penticton elementary school stuck around longer than expected on Thursday after the facility was locked down on the advice of police.

About one minute before the final bell, staff at Uplands Elementary was advised to lock down the school as police hunted nearby for a man with a knife who was thought to be a threat to himself, explained Wendy Hyer, superintendent of the Okanagan Skaha School District.

“There wasn’t any threat to the school, it was just a precaution,” Hyer said.

“It wasn’t like somebody phoned and was coming to get a kid or was coming to hurt someone in the building. It was just a precaution to keep a person in the area out of the building.”

The lockdown ended about 30 minutes later when police gave the go-ahead, and the superintendent said the security procedure went as well as could be expected.

“We practise lockdowns all the time, so by all accounts the principal said things went smoothly.”

What the school hadn’t practised, however, was doing a lockdown so close to the end of the day when parents were waiting to pick up their children.

“That was a different dimension,” Hyer said, adding some parents have sent notes to school staff to compliment their coolness under pressure.

Penticton RCMP spokesman Sgt. Rick Dellebuur said the man who generated the complaint has mental health issues and was it was reported to police he possible had a knife. RCMP pulled the man over in his car near the Uplands area but the man got out of his vehicle and ran away. A police service dog and handler searched the area but the man took another vehicle and departed the area. The vehicle has since been recovered in Summerland. Dellebuur said Mounties know who he is and were still looking for him Friday.