Catholic Division offers support for communities affected

Herald file photo.

The Prince Albert Catholic School Division did not implement extra safety measures while the manhunt for Myles Sanderson took place, but they did put extra support in place for those who needed it.

“I think the first thing that needs to be said here is that our prayers, thoughts and condolences are for all those who are suffering as a result of what happened at James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon community,” Education Director Lorel Trumier said. “That is first and foremost.”

Trumier said the school division has processes in place for any potential event that could occur in schools. However, their primary concern was the mental health and well-being of staff and students.

“One of the things we did quickly is discuss with our administrative teams some of their thoughts and concerns perhaps, questions about what we knew at the time,” she said.

“We are making our decisions with the information that we have at the time, so that’s important to know as well. At the time the suspect was known to be in Regina or suspected to be in Regina, so some of those pieces of information to inform what actions we take.”

Trumier said that when the school week began after Labour Day long weekend the division did communicate with families.

“We have our systems in place, I won’t get into all of them, but we do have systems in place for those kinds of potential events and that those procedures are well established,” Trumier said,

Procedures included communication with the Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS).

“We are going to try to have our children and our schools function as much as possible as ‘business as usual,’ knowing that there are some of our families and cousins and relatives that may be grieving of course,” Trumier explained.

They also reached out to parents and students who many need assistance with offers of support and ways to connect to supports.

“I think that our staff also need that support too because they are supporting our families and children in our community and some of them may be grieving and may be related to the families there to,” she explained. “I think that’s a very merciful approach to what’s going on in our schools as a result of this tragedy. It is something that we are definitely trying to make sure is in the forefront of what we do in all that we do everyday.”

The school board opened their meeting on Tuesday by asking for any prayer requests. Almost all of them were about the tragedy at James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon.

“Our board really just feels for the people of those communities,” Trumier said.

She added that there are special prayers happening in the schools in the division for those who are suffering.

“The word tragic doesn’t describe what happened here,” Trumier added. “It is a thing that I would never want anyone to go through. Our Catholic community certainly prays and offers condolences to all of those families and friends.”