Also, love the comment from Administration: “it’s a bullying incident”. Of course it is… until it becomes a major crime.
By Matthew Hamilton-Smith • on November 24, 2009
Student arrested, will not finish semester in the classroom.
Security in school is no joke – a truth that recently hit Lennoxville when a Champlain College student was arrested for making death threats.
On October 29, the 23-year-old student, Christos Conidas, was arrested for threatening a pair of fellow students. The Sherbrooke Police were called to the scene after Conidas threatened to go home, get a gun, and return to shoot two female classmates. Upon arriving, the police arrested the suspect and took him in for questioning.
Conidas was detained until his court hearing later in the week. Police also searched his house and found six hunting guns registered in the suspect’s father’s name.
On Monday Nov 2nd, Judge Henri-Rosaire Desbiens ruled that Conidas was fit for release from custody, but applied a few conditions: he was required to deposit $1,000, while his father had to post $10 000 in bail; he is not permitted to have contact with the female students he threatened; and he is not allowed to carry a weapon of any kind.
Although the judge applied no restrictions to Conidas’ movements, the school has decided to limit his presence on campus. He is not permitted to attend regular classes, and he must contact the school ahead of time to inform them if he is going to be on campus for any other reason. He will complete the rest of his studies for this semester through correspondence.
The number one priority at this point is to prevent another incident between the students involved, said CRC Director of Human Resources Maxime Filion: “We want to ensure that contact doesn’t happen in any way, shape, or form.”
However, Filion added, the school also will help Conidas continue his studies. To this end, the college has provided him with a laptop to use for school, as his own computer was confiscated by police.
Filion explained that the school has conflicting interests in this case: “Our role is not an easy one in this instance… we have a responsibility to help [Conidas] complete his studies, [but] at the same time, we have a responsibility to every student with their education. It’s a difficult balance.”
For Champlain students, safety is assured through extensive crisis management training provided to senior management officials. As well, there exists an internal phone network at Champlain that can be used to report any incidents directly to security. There are also procedures determining what to do in the event of crisis, but these are confidential.
The incident involving Mr. Conidas is currently under investigation, and no conviction has been made. The decision to release Conidas on bail was made in light of the fact that he has no prior convictions, and was not known to police before this incident. Despite the apparent seriousness of this event, Champlain’s Dean of Social Services Nancy Beattie calls it simply a “bullying incident.”