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Urgent Message(s)

Message in Response to Ottawa Events

Thursday, October 23 @ 8:30 am

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The tragic events that unfolded in Ottawa yesterday have left many of us at Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board shaken and disturbed. As a country, we mourn the loss of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a reservist from Hamilton and a graduate from Sherwood Secondary School, who died tragically in Ottawa.

Cpl. Cirillo was a member of the Hamilton Argylls reserve unit. To honour his memory, all HWDSB schools will lower flags to half-mast today, Oct 23. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Cpl. Cirillo.

We know that Canada is a safe place to live, and that events like this are almost unheard of. Some students may have strong feelings in the wake of yesterday’s events. Please know that our social work team is here for support. In case families find it useful, please find some points below in case you need to support a child:

  • Reassure children concerned about being in danger themselves that they are safe and will be taken care of by adults.
  • Limit media consumption because tragic images can be overwhelming. Young students may not distinguish between crises on TV and their own lives; monitor media and social media use by older students, and be available to discuss if they seem concerned.
  • Stick to family routines, which can help children feel more secure.
  • Do not dwell on a tragedy if your child is not dwelling on it. Answer questions the best you can, but do not have adult conversations in front of children. Watch younger, less verbal children for changes in behaviour.
  • Address your own feelings by talking with friends, family and community supporters. Being open about your emotions will help you support your children.

If your child needs support, please contact your principal or vice-principal so that staff can step in. Together, we can provide students with the help they need.


John Malloy
Director of Education
Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board


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