Letter from Chairperson of the Board and Director of Education
May 31, 2021
Dear KPR Students, Staff and Families,
It is with deep sorrow that we are writing to you today about what we know is on the minds of many: the 215 children whose lives were taken at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. Our heartfelt sympathies are extended to the survivors and their families. To honour and remember the lives of these children and the terrible loss experienced by their families and their communities, flags at all KPR schools and Education Centre sites will be flown at half-mast and will remain lowered for 215 hours (9 days) – one hour for each child whose life was taken – from May 31 to June 8, 2021.
This tragedy serves as a difficult reminder of the impact of the residential school system and the thousands of children whose lives were lost and whose families were broken. Regrettably, this is but one story in the continuing narrative of the horrible implications and generational harm of the Canadian Residential School System. This discovery, like so many others, is the mandate for action towards Reconciliation. As Canadians, and as an education system, we have a role to play, to take action to educate ourselves and others in raising awareness of the tragic history and creation of the residential school system and its ongoing legacy. Today and every day.
As part of that commitment, we encourage everyone in our communities to use the empathy and grief in these moments to become informed agents of change. Information and resources are available from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) and through grade appropriate Canadian Residential School System teacher resources, supported by www.orangeshirtday.org.
We are also very conscious of supporting our students, with special care and attention to the Indigenous students, staff and families within the KPR community, in their grief at this time, and the trauma that continued discoveries such as this may generate.
To support students, staff and community, we share culturally relevant, local and national crisis hotline information below:
National Indian Residential School Crisis Line
Nogojiwanong Friendship Center
https://www.nogofc.ca/ 705-775-0387 ext 238 Mental Health and Well-being Worker
Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle (Counselling and Healing)
http://www.niijki.com/ 705-741-0900 main line.
First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line
Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
Crisis Services Canada 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645
Trauma supports and resources are also available through our Special Education, Professional Services department at https://www.kprschools.ca/en/students/well-being/mentalhealth.html, as well as through the attached information sheets: Educators on Tragic Events and Managing Strong Emotional Reactions.
We thank you for your continued support and caring for our students as we process the news of this senseless tragedy. We once again encourage everyone to use the resources available here to learn further about the realities of the residential school system, its ongoing legacy, and how we can be informed agents for change.
Diane Lloyd Rita Russo
Chairperson of the Board Director of Education