Students at Dene High School in La Loche could be going back to class almost one month after a deadly shooting took place inside the school walls and devastated the remote community.
Ken Ladouceur, director of education with the Northern Lights School Division said there is no firm date on when students would go back to school. He said Feb. 22 is the earliest possible date for the school to re-open.
“La Loche Community School will remain closed at least until Feb. 22. At that time, decisions will be made as to how learning will resume in La Loche,” he said.
Teacher Adam Wood and teacher’s aide Marie Janvier were shot to death on Jan. 22. Seven others were wounded. Along with the shootings at the school, two boys, brothers Dayne Fontaine, 17, and Drayden Fontaine, 13, were shot and killed at a home in the community. A 17-year-old boy is facing charges of first degree murder.
Safety and security at the school is top-of-mind for parents like Leonard Montgrand as they prepare to send their kids back with the memories of what happened inside still fresh in their minds.
“That’s our biggest fear. We just want to go there with our child and make sure everything is good,” he said.
“It’s not drop them off at the door and say ‘OK nothing ever happened’ we have to ensure that transition.”
Montgrand said that transition needs to include having security in place before students and staff walk through the doors again. The Ministry of Education already committed to beefing up security, but said the specifics would be left up to the community.
“We’re not asking for armed security or anything. Just to have security to ease that … our children are safe and we have one more thing to ease the transition part,” Montgrand said.
Montgrand said officials from the Northern Lights School Division will be meeting with the community soon to discuss safety procedures and to address the concerns of parents.
Montgrand said he and his wife will accompany their son on the first day back to school.
*An earlier posted version of this story indicated the La Loche Community School Dene High School building was re-opening on Feb. 22. This is in fact the earliest date the school could re-open, but this has not yet been finalized according to the Northern Lights School Division. News Talk Radio regrets the error.