Montreal school boards prepare for questions, concerns about shooting spree
Published Saturday, December 15, 2012 5:49PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, December 15, 2012 6:55PM EST
School board officials, teachers, parents, and students are asking questions about the shooting in Newtown, Conn. that will likely trickle to classrooms Monday morning.
Schools in Montreal are preparing to answer questions and help a child, teacher, or staff member who is having a hard time coming to grips with the event that left a total of 28 people dead.
While neither the Lester B. Pearson School Board nor the English Montreal School Board have anything specific planned Monday morning, both are equipped the deal with any anxiety or concerns.
“Our trauma team has already been mobilized,” said Suanne Stein Day, chair of the Lester B. Pearson board. “They're working on supporting the teachers, the principals, the support staff.”
Children may have questions, said said Stein Day.
"We'll answer questions, we'll be prepared to talk to the students, but we won't encourage or initiate the discussion," she said.
Counsellors are always prepared to handle this kind of discussion, said Sylvia Lo Bianco of the EMSB.
“We have our counsellors in the school on a regular basis. Or (kids can) go to teacher who can possibly help them address this tragedy,” she said.
The tragedy has also raised questions about school security. The school boards say they have many measures in place to ensure staff and students are protected.
“We have cameras installed, buzzers, and our school members are vigilant,” said Lo Bianco.
Is it enough? Stein Day said it’s hard to determine that, but they do the best they can.
“We think it's enough. We are always open to suggestions, but I don’t want to turn our schools into prisons. I don’t want metal detector, searches, or anything like that,” she said.
School is a place children should feel safe and at home, said Ruth Rosenfield of the Montreal Teachers’ Association.
“A school setting should be about learning, singing, and children learning, laughter, and this is tragedy,” she said, adding that the unfortunate truth is this could happen anywhere, to anyone, said Rosenfield.
“I think we'd like to think -- we want to think -- that is America, this is Canada, but we can't think it. We have been through two tragedies here already in schools,” she said.
Girls embraces outside St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church, which was filled to capacity, during a healing service held in for victims of an elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. A gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, killing 26 people, including 20 children. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)