Chilliwack students locked down in Science World

Two classes from Watson elementary were put in lockdown at Science World when police took down an alleged shooting suspect Tuesday.

The principal at Watson elementary school was still thanking the advances of technology Wednesday morning.

When Taryn Dixon first learned of the shootout outside Science World Tuesday, her first thought was of her students.

Are they safe?

With technology, she got the answer almost immediately.

“We were able to send text messages back and forth with our teachers who were there and confirm everyone was safe,” said Dixon, who was also informed of the situation by the bus driver on site.

“In this case, I thank heavens for technology.”

Science World was put in lockdown late Tuesday morning as Vancouver police took down an alleged shooting suspect outside the facility.

Two classes from Watson elementary, a Grade 4/5 split and a Grade 5 class, were on field trip at the popular education destination.

“We really didn’t know what was happening,” said Dixon, who first heard of it from a concerned parent.

“In that very first moment, our biggest concern was are the kids safe? What had they seen? What had they witnessed? Were they shaking in fear?”

They didn’t have time to dwell.

“All of a sudden our phone started ringing off the hook,” said Dixon. “We had to stay calm.”

A crisis action plan was put in place immediately. All parents were contacted informing them of what had happened, and that the facility was in lockdown, and they didn’t know when students would be released. A message was posted to the school’s website, and a letter was drawn up and sent home with students at the end of day. District trauma counsellors were also brought on site for both parents and students.

“There was no time to panic, and it would have served zero purpose to do so,” said Dixon. “We knew, of course, everybody would be worried, and what we really wanted was for people to have the best, accurate information we had rather than some of the panicked information.”

Science World was locked down for about two hours. Students were escorted out by police at 1:45 p.m.. They were originally scheduled to leave the facility at 2 p.m.

When they arrived back at Watson, students, with their parents, were debriefed by counsellors.

A counsellor was also at the school Wednesday.

“Our emergency procedures worked so well yesterday; I am just so proud of our district,” said Dixon. “You never really know how valuable these processes are until you use them.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Canadian Reformed Church in Chilliwack. (GoogleMaps)
OPINION: Churches that defy the law and public health orders are in the extreme minority

The nature of news coverage means that aberrations from the norm are what make the headlines

Projects recently approved by council will tackle homelessness in Chilliwack. (Black Press file photo)
Latest projects taking on homelessness in Chilliwack focused on pandemic pivoting

4 key service providers will share a blended fund of almost $160,000 in Reaching Home funding

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

These free, postage-paid postcards were sent to 13.5 million households across Canada. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Chilliwack Progress)
OPINION: Singing the praises of these postcards of positivity

I typed this ode to the loveliness of hand-written notes on a computer but the point still stands

Snow is still coming down in Hemlock Valley. (Emil Anderson Maintenance/Twitter)
VIDEO: Spring is coming, but snow sticking around in Hemlock Valley

If you’re up the mountain, don’t put away your toques just yet

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Most Read