Police, fire & school officials urge caution ahead of pre-grad celebrations
2021-09-02 08:00 PDT
Each year, many of North Vancouver's newest cohort of incoming grade 12 students fulfill a well-known tradition. Coming together in local parks and school grounds throughout North Van, they hold "Pre-Graduation" parties to reconnect with friends and celebrate the end of summer.
In the past, police have been called to attend some of these large gatherings after party-goes had consumed excessive amounts of alcohol and/or drugs, caused property damage, injured themselves or others, or committed criminal acts that have victimised fellow students or other members of the public. While there have been no major incidents at pre-grad events during recent years, last month's lifting of restrictions on public gatherings, combined with record temperatures and an extreme fire risk, have prompted a renewed appeal for caution from RCMP, fire officials, and school administrators.
"We're asking students planning to participate in 'Grad Sleepout' or any other events, to think through their choices before starting their celebrations," said Inspector Vaz Kassam, Operations Officer for the North Vancouver RCMP. "Make transportation plans ahead of time, decide how you'll deal with a difficult situation, and be sure you can call on a trusted adult if you need to. We want to encourage everyone to celebrate responsibly, make safe choices, and avoid harmful situations."
"The forests are tinder dry right now," said North Vancouver District Fire Rescue Service Chief Brian Hutchinson. "Under no circumstances should anyone be lighting a fire, whether it’s a campfire or otherwise. And we need everyone to be very careful about smoking. A carelessly discarded cigarette can cause a wildfire that can quickly spread from the forest to a North Van neighbourhood."
North Vancouver School District Superintendent Mark Pearmain is encouraging parents and guardians of grade 12 students to talk with their children about their weekend plans. "This is an exciting time for our senior students," he said. "Young adults are really good at making responsible and positive choices, and we encourage our students to continue to do so this long weekend. Be the community leaders and positive role models younger students look up to by making safe and healthy decisions around social gatherings and re-connecting with friends."
North Vancouver RCMP officers will be out in increased numbers over the Labour Day Weekend, patrolling key areas such as local parks, schools and secluded locations where partiers often gather, and will be taking a proactive approach to the enforcement of liquor, traffic, and local bylaw violations.
Sgt. Peter DeVriesMedia Relations Officer
North Vancouver RCMP
nvan.rcmp-grc.gc.ca (English only)
147 East 14th St, North Van., BC, V7L 2N4
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