An increase in the number of incidents involving North Delta youth and replica firearms has prompted a warning to parents from police and school officials.
A letter, co-signed by the Delta School District and Delta Police Department and sent to North Delta parents on Tuesday, Dec. 17, urges parents to “consider carefully” before purchasing an airsoft or BB gun for their children, noting that replica firearms can look very similar to the real thing and thus be easily confused or mistake for an actual weapon.
“The concerns spill over into our schools when students post pictures of themselves on social media posing with these replicas,” the letter reads. “In a photo, it is virtually impossible to know if we are dealing with a real or a replica gun. As a result, every report needs to be followed up carefully. These investigations are requiring more and more time on the part of the Delta Police and our school administrators, taking them away from other important duties.”
“Imitation firearms are not toys. From a distance, it is impossible to know the difference between an airsoft, BB gun and a real gun. This can put our students at risk when police are asked to respond to reports of youth being seen with a weapon.”
Cris Leykauf, the DPD’s public affairs manager, said the department has had approximately 10 reports in North Delta concerning students and airsoft or replica guns since September.
“In some instances the students brought them to school and staff became aware and contacted police. In other instances students posted images of the replica or airsoft guns on social media, and police became aware of the postings,” Leykauf said in an email to the Reporter.
“The investigations did not reveal any times when individuals were threatened with any of these weapons, and there have been no charges concerning these incidents. However, because there have been repeated instances, which cause concern and consume significant police resources to investigate, police felt it was appropriate to reach out in conjunction with the school district to parents and guardians.”
Parents are being asked to remind their children that any image they portray on social media matters not only now, but for their future.
“Once a picture is posted, it cannot be taken back. Please talk to your children about the importance of being cautious with the pictures they share,” the letter states. “Further, please remind your children that if they see an image of any student with a real or replica weapon, they should report it to a trusted adult so that the appropriate steps can be taken.”
Students and parents are also reminded that weapons, be they real or replica, are not allowed on school property at any time, under any circumstances.
“Any violations will be taken very seriously by the police and the school district, and will result in significant consequences,” the letter says. “The safety of our students is our number one priority.”