The Mountaineer - Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada
© 2007 The Mountaineer Publishing Company Limited.

Graffiti threat investigated
By Laura Button

Bathroom graffiti at Pioneer School prompted a police investigation last week and heightened security at the middle school.
“On Wednesday, students reported to the office they noticed a threat written on the bathroom wall,” said Wild Rose School Division (WRSD) Superintendent Brad Volkman. “It was anonymous, it didn’t target any particular student, just the school.”
While the school division didn’t believe the threat posed a significant risk to students or staff, division protocol is to take all issues that may affect school safety seriously. WRSD said due to the timing of the report, they weren’t able to send a note home to parents that day. Parents were notified in a letter sent home on Thursday, May 11.
“We try not to overreact, and we try not to underreact,” said Volkman. “If it’s a cry for help then we want to help, but if it’s just to be a jokester, well you can’t do that in this day and age. There are too many terrible things that have happened.”
On Friday, RCMP Sergeant Jay Penner said the school was working well with police.
“We’ve identified a potential suspect and the investigation is ongoing,” he said. “We’ve mitigated as much of the threat as possible to date and we’re working hard to ensure we can clean it up completely.”
He said police presence will continue at the school until the threat has been completely dealt with. Penner said a second graffiti tag reported on Friday had no bearing on the investigation.
Volkman said even though the threat was deemed not significant, the culprit will face consequences at school.
“Either they’re reaching out and something’s bothering them, or they’re trying to be funny. Either way, it needs to be addressed with support, or a warning.”
The anonymous threat was specific to Pioneer School and did not mention any of the other schools in Rocky Mountain House, but St. Matthew Elementary sent a note home to parents as a precaution.
“There was definitely no threat at our school,” said Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools spokesperson Meghan Alton. “We wanted our parents to know because our students share busing. We have our own protocols in place, and we wanted parents to know we were aware [of the Pioneer School incident], and we are going to be monitoring the bus lanes more closely.”