Date:   Oct 15, 2015

File # 15-47580

Victoria, BC – VicPD officers are commending the quick thinking of school staff and parents for their action in safely deescalating an incident at George Jay Elementary School yesterday.

Officers flooded George Jay Elementary School at 1118 Princess Avenue and the surrounding area just after 3p.m. yesterday after receiving a call that indicated a woman had tried to leave with a child which was not her own. When they arrived, officers discovered that staff had contained the woman in question. She was taken into custody without incident.

While originally reported as an attempted abduction, the preliminary investigation reveals that incident began when a caregiver arrived to pick up a child, who is a student at the school, with that child’s young sibling in tow in a stroller. The woman, who is unknown to the caregiver, approached the caregiver and inquired about the child in the stroller. There was a verbal exchange between the two and the woman reached down to lift the child out of the stroller. She was unsuccessful. Recognizing something was amiss, school staff, the caregiver and other parents intervened immediately. The woman was separated from the stroller and child and staff lead her to an area away from the children. Officers were on scene within moments and took the woman into custody without incident. No one was injured, and the woman was transported to hospital for assessment.

“The staff of George Jay Elementary, the young child’s caregiver and the parents on scene should be commended for their actions,” Chief Constable Frank Elsner said. “While this situation can certainly cause understandable concern on the part of parents and caregivers, it is important to know that it appears that at no time was any child in danger. School staff are trained to intervene when they see something is occurring which could possibly bring danger to a child. They, along with the child’s caregiver and other parents did the right thing: they acted to protect a child as they should. That the system put into place to protect our children worked should give comfort to parents in our community.”

While the investigation is ongoing, it is unlikely that criminal charges will recommended.