Police say a student came across the device hidden in the grass in a well-trafficked area near Steveston-London Secondary School early Sunday afternoon.
"It was meant to harm, either a person or an animal," said acting Cpl. Dennis Hwang.
"We have no reports of any people or pets being hurt at this time, thank goodness."
Hwang described the trap as a series of nails embedded upright on a plastic, circular base, measuring about four centimetres by four centimetres.
The student's parent turned the mechanism over to police.
"If people do encounter anything similar to this we would advise them to leave it alone, maybe protect it or cover it up, and notify police and we'll come by and investigate and dispose of it safely," Hwang said.
He said police are concerned about the possibility of there being more traps.
The Richmond School District conducted a sweep of the area before classes resumed Tuesday but found nothing.
Mounties say they have no suspects but are urging anyone with information to come forward.