Smiths Falls police say that a reported increase in violence in the area surrounding Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute, as well as multiple instances of students trespassing on private property, has led to a heightened police presence around the school.
In a recent media release, police state that on Tuesday, Oct. 17, the Smiths Falls Police Service began an investigation into an assault that was reported to have happened on the property adjacent to the high school.
“A male youth sustained serious facial injuries that required surgery as a result,” police said in the release.
A 15 year old male youth was charged with aggravated assault and will appear in youth court at a later date.
Then, on Oct. 24, parents of students at the high school received a letter from Acting Principal Kami Link informing them that there will be an increased police presence around the school.
“Police will be monitoring the area around school property, including the wooded area behind our school,” the letter reads. “Please remind your youth that this area is private property, not school property, and that students should not be using it or loitering there.”
The letter emphasizes that doing so is trespassing, and could result in fines.
Smiths Falls Police Services Deputy Chief Jodi Empey told Lanarkist that “the private property adjacent to the high school has been an issue for years, although this year in particular there has been a reported increase in violence.”
Police already have officers assigned to the school, as well as a community services officer who often visits, and Empey explained that the “proactive approach” of an increased police presence is to make clear to “students who are in that wooded area that it is private property, which is subject to charges under the Criminal Code of Canada, Trespassing on Private Property as well as any smoke free Ontario offences that officers see.”
Parents of any underage students found violating these rules will be notified.
The end goal is to ensure the school area “continues to be a safe place for all students,” Empey said.
Empey also points out that “the owners of the property adjacent to the high school may be subject to criminal or civil liability should anything happen on their property.”