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Tragic loss in our school community

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Tragic loss in our school community

Alex Johnstone, Chair of the Board, and Manny Figueiredo, Director of Education, share the following statement with the community, October 10:

“An act of violence has shaken Sir Winston Churchill Secondary and our wider community. We would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and sympathies at this difficult time.

We continue to support Churchill students and staff. This involves our Critical Incident Response Team, social workers, police liaison offers and additional staff.

It is encouraging that Churchill’s football game against Sherwood honours Devan, including wearing purple T-shirts with the slogan #Churchillstrong. Friends say Devan’s favourite colour was purple.

In times of crisis, school can be a stabilizing influence in the life of a student or staff member. School is a place where students can find caring adults and the comfort of a routine.

We continue to cooperate with the police investigation. We have begun our own school-level investigation of the students who were released, in line with our safe school procedures.

As a board, we will conduct a formal review of our Safe Schools practices when the police and school investigations are complete. Staff will bring a recommendation to the Board of Trustees to begin this review at our Oct. 28 Board meeting.

We will work with students, parents, the community and the province to ensure that all input is reflected in our efforts to collectively build positive and inclusive school and community cultures.”

Supportive resources: 

  • Staff: We share the collective concern for all of our employees’ well-being during this time. Support is available. Please reach out to a colleague, a supervisor or our Lifeworks Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at www.lifeworks.com.
  • Parents and Students: Please use the following document when supporting students or parents with questions or concerns: http://bit.ly/TipsDistressingEvents

Additional communication:

“Our hearts are broken by the news that a 14-year-old student has died. There are no words that can begin to describe how shocked we are to learn about this loss. Our thoughts are with the student’s family and loved ones.

 Our entire community shares in the grief and sadness of having lost a valued and loved student.

 We can never tolerate acts of violence. We must always promote acts of kindness and peace for the sake of our entire Hamilton community.

 We will be supporting students and staff at this difficult time as we work with our partners at Hamilton Police Service.”

Updated on Thursday, October 10, 2019.
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