School divisions extend supports for students, staff impacted by Humboldt tragedy

By Tyler Marr
April 9, 2018 - 5:00pm

As students and staff returned to school Monday in the wake of Friday’s deadly collision involving the Humboldt Broncos, both the Saskatchewan Rivers and Prince Albert Catholic school divisions are working to ensure supports are in place for those who need it.

Director of Education for P.A. Catholic Lorel Trumier said while students are grieving the 15 players and staff who were killed Friday, they are also mourning the unexpected loss of a staff member. She said the division is grieving on many fronts and has offered counselling to those in need.

“We are really relying on our faith to try to reconcile and understand and to seek hope in a time where we need God’s love more than any other time,” she said. 

Many staff and students, she said, were taking the news particularly hard as one of the players on the bus was previously enrolled with the division when he played hockey in Prince Albert earlier in his career.

Trumier said she attended École St. Mary High School this morning and saw a sea of green and gold.

"It is pretty impressive where students who may not have had a direct connection want to show they care. It was very evident,” she said. “It is a terrible tragedy we wish upon no one and all we can do is reach out to the school divisions that are impacted directly and offer our prayers.”

Robert Bratvold, director of education for Sask. Rivers, said the division is connected with the Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response and relies on their expertise in situations like these.

He said the division routinely talks with staff to model calmness and to make sure they are supportive and not exacerbating trauma students may feel after tragic events. They too are offering counselling and supports to those in need.

“We make sure principals and counsellors and teachers are aware of the cues and things to look for if students are experiencing more trauma than we might think they might,” he said. “That is most important.”

Bratvold said the division has lowered its flags to half-mast and has sent six specially trained trauma councillors from the division to Humboldt. While it was early in the day, he said the division has identified a number of staff members who had connections to those involved in the collision.

“They are managing it very well in terms of professionalism and awareness,” he said. “We have the support they need as well.”

Staff from the Saskatchewan Health Authority continue to work with the survivors of the accident and as of noon today, April 7, 12 individuals remain in hospital. Four patients are in critical condition, four remain in serious condition and four are in stable condition. Fifteen people have been killed as a result of the collision.

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