Some daycares in western Quebec say they were motivated to change their safety procedures after a fatal shooting almost one year ago at a facility in Gatineau, Que.
On April 5, 2013, Robert Charron stormed into his wife’s daycare, L es Racines de vie Montessori, where he shot and killed daycare worker Neil Galliou before turning the gun on himself.
- IN DEPTH | The Gatineau daycare shooting
Charron, who also tried to light his wife on fire but failed, did not injure any of the 53 children at the daycare. But the incident shocked daycare operators across the Ottawa-Gatineau region.
Unlike fire safety plans, lockdown procedures are not mandatory at daycares in Quebec. They are mandatory at Quebec schools.
A spokesperson for Quebec’s ministry in charge of daycares said there’s no plan to make lockdown plans mandatory.
Still, daycare owners like Mona Donnelly told CBC News they called police after last year’s daycare shooting looking to improve their safety procedures.
“Whether it’s mandatory or not, for us it’s important that we’re supported in that, so that there is some sort of protocol out there that says, ‘OK yes, what we’ve done is right, is good, is OK’,” said Donnelly, the general manager of Bambinos Universe Early Childhood Centre in Shawville, Que., northwest of Gatineau.
Quebec police help area daycares
Donnelly, and some other daycare operators who spoke with CBC News, contacted officers at MRC-des-Collines de l’Outaouais and Sûreté du Quebec for assistance. Police officers helped explain why protocol is important and they have worked with daycares to help make any necessary changes.
“(Daycare workers) need to be aware of where they are while they’re working and their environment. In some cases they had to change some practices,” said police spokesman Martin Fournel.
“It’s good for them to go through that process. ‘OK, is our building safe? Are our procedures safe’?”
Donnelly said her daycare installed a new intercom system and a new lock that is activated electronically.
While the government hasn’t changed its legislation, the Association des centres de la petites enfance de l’Outaouais (ACPEO) has revised its handbook.
The ACPEO oversees 80 per cent of daycares in the Outaouais, which care for about 2,000 children in all. The organization has since provided a new “Code White” to daycare operators and other institutions to share the best safety practices.