Saskatchewan village to get health, education help after school shooting – CP

Source: The Canadian Press
Aug 16, 2016

LA LOCHE, Sask. _ A remote northern Saskatchewan village where people were traumatized after a deadly school shooting is getting help to improve its future.

Premier Brad Wall was in La Loche on Tuesday where he announced new measures for education, health, housing and infrastructure.

“We know that it’s a start and there’s going to be more work to be done, but we’re grateful to have worked with the mayor and local leaders and the community to come to this day,” Wall said.

Some initiatives include adult basic education programs, a trades program in heavy equipment, automotive mechanics and construction of affordable rental housing in a joint federal-provincial project.

An additional community mental health nurse began providing counselling services in July and a suicide prevention and community wellness worker was scheduled to start Wednesday.

Wall said there was “a real spontaneous response” to a new Dene education program aimed at university students from the area who will become teachers. They’ll graduate with a bachelor of education degree from the University of Regina.

Those teachers will also learn to instruct their students in the Dene language “to better connect with students here,” he said.

“We want to keep kids engaged in school. We want them here, and so we also need to move on better options that are even non-academic, like shop options … but it would be better if we can also have teachers who have that special and added training in Dene cultural and language.”

The support comes after two brothers were killed in a home and a teacher and a teacher’s aide were shot at the high school in La Loche in January. Seven others at the school were wounded.

A teenage boy, who can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.

There were initially some calls to tear down the school, but support shifted toward renovations.

“It’s pretty easy to understand why community leaders, why others in the community, were saying, ‘Can we ever use that place again?”’ said Wall.

“But time has passed and a lot of work has happened already _ and we’re just going to make sure that more work happens _ to make the facility better, to make it new and different, to help turn a page.”

La Loche Mayor Kevin Janvier has said it is important to recognize the shooting occurred after years of hardship. The community needs better education, health, housing and strategic infrastructure, he said.

On Tuesday, Janvier said the initiatives are a step forward.

“It means a lot to our community. It’s a big thing for the community because this is just the beginning. There is still a lot of work to be done ahead of us.”

_ By Jennifer Graham in Regina


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