13-year-old arrested after alleged assault at B.C. middle school
VANCOUVER -- Jan. 22 update: CTV News spoke to the girl involved in the incident. Here's what she said.
A 13-year-old boy has been arrested following allegations of an assault at a Metro Vancouver middle school, police say.
Mounties said the alleged incident was reported at Citadel Middle School in Port Coquitlam the afternoon of Jan. 10.
Officers were told that there was a verbal confrontation between four boys, which escalated when a 14-year-old girl became involved in the situation.
The girl reportedly used what police describe as "a low level physical force."
"At that point, one of the teenage boys – a 13-year-old from Maple Ridge – escalated to a level that police consider inappropriate," RCMP Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said Tuesday.
Photos being shared online by people identifying themselves as the girl's family showed injuries to her face. CTV News has reached out to the girl's family members about the incident.
Mounties said the boy, who cannot be publicly identified by law, was arrested at the scene. He is accused of uttering threats and assault causing bodily harm.
He does not have a history with police, and has been released from custody under conditions not provided by the RCMP. He is scheduled to reappear in court in Port Coquitlam at a later date, Mounties said.
The investigation is ongoing, and officers are still gathering evidence. More charges are possible, and more students could be charged.
They will not be named publicly due to their ages. All parties involved are students at the middle school, the RCMP said.
Meanwhile, police say there are several allegations circulating on social media that should not be used in making snap judgements.
"There are allegations appearing on social media that directly contradict the video evidence, witness statements, and established facts of this investigation," McLaughlin said in a statement Tuesday announcing the investigation.
"There has been a lot of anger directed to the school and police. We want to assure everyone that our first priority is to continually assess the risk and make sure that everyone involved is safe."
As the investigation is conducted, police advise parents and other members of the public to try to stay patient and avoid judgement.
"It's completely understandable that people are reacting emotionally to this file, especially since children are involved. But it's important that we conduct an impartial investigation," McLaughlin said.
The mayor of Port Coquitlam said the story was brought to his attention through social media.
In a series of posts on Twitter, Brad West said he was "deeply upset and disappointed" by the incident, and has reached out one of the families involved to offer his assistance.
"Everyone has the right to feel safe in our schools and community. We all have a responsibility to demonstrate respect and inclusion and be good role models for our children. That's what has made Port Coquitlam a diverse and welcoming community," he wrote.
West said he's spoken and written to police and the school district about the incident.
CTV News reached out to School District No. 43, and was told by a spokesperson the issue is being taken seriously.
"The school district is co-operating with the RCMP in order to ensure that the investigation is not impeded or jeopardized," the district said in an email.
"Because this involves an RCMP investigation and the privacy of young children, the school district is unable to provide further comment."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber in Port Coquitlam