Charlene Klyne will bear the physical scars of the deadly mass shooting in La Loche for the rest of her life.
Klyne was one of seven people injured Jan. 22 when a shooter entered the high school in the northern Sask. community, located about a six-hour drive north of Saskatoon.
A boy, 17 years old at the time, is accused of fatally shooting two brothers at a home before heading to the school and opening fire, killing two teachers.
Klyne, a former supply and probationary teacher, spoke out publically Wednesday for the first since the tragedy. She said surviving victims simply aren’t getting enough help.
“We need assistance. We need not to have to beg,” she said.
Klyne can’t see out of her left eye and can only make out shadows with her right.
“Everything is black and white,” she said. “I have not seen my family for many days, many months.”
When Klyne’s injuries caused her to lose a tooth, doctors pulled the root out and found pellets in her jaw.
“I have pellets along my face, in my arms, in my chest in numerous spots. I have pellets in the lining of my heart that they won’t remove,” she said.
“They said it’s more dangerous to remove them.”
In the months following the shooting, Klyne said victims continue to suffer not just physically, but mentally and financially.
The former teacher covers her own costs for living in Saskatoon while receiving treatment. It’s a move Klyne said she never would’ve made otherwise.
“It’s just not a place we planned on living, but now—because of medical reasons—we’re here,” she said, calling out the government, the Northern Lights School Division and compensation groups to step up.
Right now, Klyne takes home $360 every two weeks from the Workers Compensation Board.
“Which I understand is based on what I made, but I have no future income. It’s not like I can go back to work tomorrow,” she said.
Buckley Belanger, the deputy leader of the Sask. NDP, said since the deadly shooting was an unprecedented tragedy in the province, more resources should have been devoted to victims.
“Why isn’t there a concentration of supports and continual focus on the families that are going through this?” he said.
“Now more than ever we need to have empathy and support mechanisms in place for them.”
‘We want to reach out’
On Wednesday, 650 CKOM spoke to Don Morgan, the minister responsible for the Workers’ Compensation Board in Saskatchewan, regarding Klyne.
Morgan said the province employed one person designated as a “single point of contact” in the community to address resources.
“The people who are in the community, we were able to get them the supports that they needed,” he said.
“Unfortunately this individual was not in La Loche. We did not know about her, so we want to reach out and try to help her.”
The minister said he now understands Klyne has been in Saskatoon for treatment, but said he had not been contacted by her previously regarding the situation.
“What we will do is reach out and ask WCB to look at the file.”
Additionally, Morgan said he would look at getting someone from either the ministry of education or health to meet with Klyne to discuss the supports needed.
“We did a lot of things for the people of La Loche and we don’t want to have somebody fall off because they didn’t happen to be in La Loche after the incident.”
—With files from JT Marshall.