BOY CHARGED AFTER CHEM­I­CAL EX­PLO­SION IN­JURES SCHOOL­MATE

Regina Leader-Post - - FRONT PAGE - ASH­LEY MARTIN amartin@post­media.com

A 12-year-old boy ac­cused of cre­at­ing a chem­i­cal ex­plo­sion dur­ing morn­ing re­cess on Wed­nes­day didn’t mean to harm one of his school­mates.

That’s ac­cord­ing to Regina Pub­lic School Di­vi­sion spokesper­son Terry Lazarou.

“There was no in­di­ca­tion that the stu­dent in­tended to do any harm to any­one,” said Lazarou. “The fact that it hurt some­one was ac­ci­den­tal.

“How­ever, it still is very, very se­ri­ous. It did cause harm to a stu­dent. It is com­pletely inap­pro­pri­ate in a school en­vi­ron­ment.”

Regina po­lice have charged the 12-year-old boy in con­nec­tion with the in­ci­dent that oc­curred on the play­ground of Ruth M. Buck School in north­west Regina.

A 12-year-old girl who was nearby sus­tained non-life-threat­en­ing in­juries. She was taken to hos­pi­tal with chem­i­cal burns.

At a news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day, Regina po­lice spokes­woman El­iz­a­beth Popowich said only that the girl was treated and will re­cover. Lazarou wouldn’t com­ment fur­ther, cit­ing the girl’s right to pri­vacy.

The chem­i­cals didn’t come from the school, said Lazarou, nor did the knowledge of how to cre­ate an ex­plo­sion.

“They ’re ma­te­ri­als that are rel­a­tively common, but when mixed to­gether in a closed con­tainer, cre­ate enough pres­sure to ex­plode the con­tainer,” Popowich said.

She didn’t want to be more spe­cific lest “some­one else who may have the same level of cu­rios­ity” con­sid­ers repli­cat­ing the boy’s ac­tiv­i­ties.

Lazarou agreed, say­ing: “The stu­dent, I think, just wanted to demon­strate that some­thing could be as­sem­bled eas­ily and show off, and it just went hor­ri­bly, hor­ri­bly wrong.”

As Thurs­day was the last day of school be­fore the week­long spring break, Lazarou said a school as­sem­bly would be planned for the week of April 9 to dis­cuss the in­ci­dent.

“The as­sem­bly will prob­a­bly in­volve the school re­source of­fi­cer, who’s a po­lice per­son, to talk about safety and not mess­ing around with stuff that’s po­ten­tially very dan­ger­ous,” said Lazarou.

Ac­cord­ing to Regina po­lice, the school’s prin­ci­pal con­tacted a school re­source of­fi­cer to re­port the “ex­plo­sive chem­i­cal re­ac­tion that in­jured a stu­dent.”

Lazarou said school ad­min­is­tra­tors gave the girl first aid.

He said there was a “small de­lay” in con­tact­ing some of the par­ents of stu­dents who wit­nessed the ex­plo­sion, as the po­lice were con­duct­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

As of late Thurs­day morn­ing, he said, some of the stu­dents’ par­ents had been con­tacted, while oth­ers had yet to be con­tacted.

He said the school would be send­ing a let­ter home to fam­i­lies on Thurs­day to in­form them of the event.

Lazarou couldn’t say ex­actly how many su­per­vi­sors were on the play­ground at the time, but “there wasn’t a gap in su­per­vi­sors. It was a very quick thing.”

He said this is a first for the school di­vi­sion, “with re­spect to some­one be­com­ing in­jured be­cause of some­thing like this.”

The 12-year-old boy, who can­not be named in ac­cor­dance with the Youth Crim­i­nal Jus­tice Act, is charged with us­ing ex­plo­sives (throw­ing a cor­ro­sive sub­stance), as­sault with a weapon, and mis­chief un­der $5,000.

He made his first court ap­pear­ance in youth court on Thurs­day.

Po­lice searched the sus­pect’s home and “are also en­gaged in a pro­to­col to as­sess any po­ten­tial threat posed by the sus­pect,” po­lice said.

Po­lice, school of­fi­cials and other au­thor­i­ties are also en­gaged in plan­ning to pro­vide fol­lowup and other re­sources as needed for all in­volved.

There is no ev­i­dence the ex­plo­sion was di­rected at any par­tic­u­lar in­di­vid­ual.

Popowich said in­for­ma­tion wasn’t re­leased about the in­ci­dent un­til Thurs­day be­cause an in­ves­ti­ga­tion “takes a cer­tain amount of time.”

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