Suitcases, pillows, candles and other items including drug paraphernalia was found in a shed on Queen’s Park School property. Submitted photo

Penticton parent takes action on drug paraphernalia found at school

Drug paraphernalia and evidence people were living in a shed found at a Penticton school

Like all parents, Nadine Remington wants to know her nine-year-old son is safe while on school property.

But, the increasing problem of drug use on school property after hours is heightening fears for her and other parents.

Earlier this week, Remington was told by her son who is in Grade 4 at Queen’s Park School that people were living in a shed on the school’s property and that he had seen a needle and matches nearby.

Related: More needles found in downtown Penticton

After a similar experience of the boy finding drug paraphernalia at KVR Middle School while at camp this summer, she took his claims seriously and headed out to the school to see it herself. Remington and her husband didn’t find anyone in the shed, but there was evidence suggesting someone was living in it recently and a needle on the ground at the door.

“There was stuff everywhere. There were needles in there. There were candles. There was garbage. It was handy because there are gym matts in there, so they had a nice soft place to sleep. It looked like they were living in there for quite some time,” she said during a phone interview Wednesday.

Remington said she contacted the school who told her although the shed was on school property it was being rented out. She contacted the group said to be renting it, but was told she should contact the school board because it was their property. She said she contacted police who said they couldn’t help her get it cleaned up. She was advised to call bylaw but she thought that would be a waste of time.

While Remington continued to go through channels, another parent posted pictures of the shed in a Facebook group on Wednesday. Someone on staff at School Board 67 (Okangan Skaha) also saw the pictures and staff jumped into action. The board immediately sent a crew to the school to clean up the shed and made plans to have it removed.

“I’m happy the school board acted right away. It’s the fact that I had to go through all that and what if a child was stuck with a needle during this,” Remington said.

Related: Community response needed in OD crisis says Interior Health

She went through a similar experience this summer when her son was at a camp at KVR Middle School.

“He said there was some bad stuff at the school. There were kits to cook up heroin. There were tourniquets, no needles there. Someone had went and cleaned it up by the time we heard about it.

“It’s frustrating. We already have to watch when they’re playing in the park … My son comes home and says there’s lighters and needles and matches at the school. No nine-year-old needs to know about this,” she said.

Wendy Hyer, superintendent for the school board, said she is aware there are problems with people using illicit drugs after hours on several school properties in Penticton. She said the board has identified KVR, Pen High and Queen’s Park as hot spots for finding drug paraphernalia.

For some time, principals and custodians have been tasked with doing sweeps of all school properties.If they find something, staff has been trained to dispose of material appropriately. Students have also been educated on what to do if they find drug paraphernalia, she said.

In the issue of the shed at Queen’s Park, she noted that it’s location on the property often confuses staff as to whether it is actually on school property and that it must have been missed in the walk arounds.

“The shed is going to be removed. As soon as we knew about it (at the board) we acted on it. Safety is our main priority,” she said.

Hyer said the school board has asked the police to do additional patrols around KVR, Pen High and Queen’s Park especially after hours in hopes of deterring people from taking part in drug use on school grounds. She said at this point she was not aware if additional patrols were being done and said she understand that police resources are tight.

“We want schools to be safe but we also need to be supporting folks who have mental health and substance abuse problems. It’s not about moving the problem. It’s about figuring out some effective ways of supporting folks and helping with the problem. It takes a community to do that.”

Several calls to a Penticton RCMP spokesperson were not returned by the time this article was published.

 

By items left behind in a shed on Queen’s Park School property it appears people were living in the structure. Submitted photo

Just Posted

District of Sicamous and Federal government come to terms on biomass heater grant

Once completed the project could heat arena elementary school and more using wood waste

City to renew agreement with Shaw for public Wi-Fi access

Wireless networking hotspots will continue to be available at Salmon Arm parks and facilities

Longtime Shuswap school bus driver takes one last ride

Kathy Keam drove students on the same bus route for 38 years

Dogs called heroes in Blind Bay residential blaze

Homeonwers safe but one pet missing, another confirmed dead following fire

Semi in ditch slows Highway 97 traffic north of Vernon

The accident occurred near Irish Creek Road Thursday, Jan. 17

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Remorse high for Vernon man sentenced for car surfing death

Driver of car that killed friend who was car surfing gets nine months in jail

Shuswap curlers hit the ice in Salmon Arm Curling Club’s Stick Bonspiel

Annual event enters 12th year, sees 24 teams enter

Most Read