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Grade 5 Student Meets Chief of Police and Takes Initiative in Municipal Government Learning Journey

GNS Student explores rules on law enforcement and drug-use regulation.

In a display of initiative and curiosity, Jake Blenntoft ‘31 went above and beyond to delve into the intricacies of local government systems as part of a Grade 5 Unit of Inquiry on How We Organize Ourselves. 

Jake met with a number of experts and carried out interesting learning engagements. At the end of the inquiry by way of an assessment of understanding, all students chose an issue that interested them and wrote a persuasive letter to the official at the level of municipal government asking for a course of action. 

Jake selected the legalization of drugs in Central Saanich as his topic. What’s noteworthy is not merely that he wrote the letter – a task undertaken by all fifth-graders – but rather, it’s the initiative he demonstrated. Following the completion of the letter, he proactively arranged an interview with the Central Saanich Chief of Police to gain a deeper understanding of the issue on his own time.

“I chose this because my mom was a first responder and she still works on the police board so I was quite interested in a new rule they set up about drugs,” said Jake. “They upped the level of how much a teenager is allowed to have in their system and if they’re under that amount then they can’t get any criminal charges or get arrested or anything, from my point of view that didn’t make sense so I kind of wanted to study into more of that.” 

By arranging this time with the Chief of Police, Jake aimed to shed light on the complexities of the issue and to understand more deeply the perspective of law enforcement.

“I wanted to learn more about how decisions are made and how they affect our community,” said Jake.

During his time speaking to the Chief of Police, Jake learned more about the organizational structures and processes related to drug regulation. The experience enhanced his understanding of the issue and prompted reflections on his initial perspectives.

Jake’s worry was that teenagers could get injured with a high level of drugs in their system, but the Chief of Police was able to explain the intricacies behind the decision. “He said if you were to shut down this rule, it wouldn’t impact the people who got and used the drugs, it would moreso impact the dealers and would cause a commotion higher up the chain. It made me realize that it’s not all bad that they don’t do that much to fix it,” Jake said, explaining that in some cases, drug-use and regulation in Greater Victoria can often be so complex that it is beyond police control.  

This Unit of Inquiry centered around key concepts such as Function, Change and Perspective. Jake, in his exploration, touched upon language arts and social studies and demonstrated a connection to real-world issues through his engagement with the Chief of Police.

Jake said that he finds rules and regulations within government interesting, and that is why he decided to “step up his game and go the extra mile,” all to widen his perspective. 

Jake’s teacher Mrs. Wallace praised his initiative. “This is the desired outcome of our Primary Years Programme – students taking action beyond the classroom to understand and contribute to the world around them.”

As Jake progresses through the rest of his Grade 5 year, he expresses enthusiasm for further exploration of body systems and their interconnections. Anticipating his transition to Middle School next year, he eagerly looks forward to the opportunities this new phase will bring. 

Additionally, Jake holds a particular fascination with migration, demonstrating deep empathy for individuals relocating to different countries. He recognizes the challenges associated with leaving one’s culture behind and adapting to a new environment.

Jake is an inspiring example to all students and GNS staff of a young learner that is actively engaged with and curious about his community.