Flags fly at half mast at Pen-High and all school properties across SD67. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

Flags fly at half mast at Pen-High and all school properties across SD67. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

Okanagan Skaha schools flags fly at half mast for 215 children buried in Kamloops

Focus will be on making respectful, age-appropriate curriculum about residential schools

To honour the 215 children whose bodies were discovered on the site of the former Kamloops residential school, all flags on school district property will be flown at half-mast until further notice.

“We acknowledge that many community members, including the Okanagan First People and members of the Penticton Indian Band are directly impacted by this tragic discovery,” said School District No. 67 board chair James Palanio. “We are deeply saddened by this news and express our sympathies to all those individuals and families impacted by this devastating discovery and remain committed to ensuring our district continues to engage in the work of Truth and Reconciliation and the Calls to Action.”

As part of SD67’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the district will continue to focus on making respectful, age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, treaties, and Indigenous people’s historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a component of schools and classrooms. In addition to schools lowering their flags, school communities have also been asked to find ways this week to collectively recognize this tragedy as age and grade appropriate, said superintendent of schools Todd Manuel.

SD67’s Indigenous Education Team members are paying close attention to the social and emotional needs of our Indigenous students, and all students that may be particularly impacted by this devastating news, said Manuel.

Counselling will be made available to any student who requires additional support at this time, with particular attention being given to culturally responsive and trauma informed approach, Manuel added.

“It is also important to note that our Indigenous Education Team members are currently partnering within each school community to determine how schools can create age-appropriate learning opportunities and instruction that is culturally sensitive around Residential School history and Truth and Reconciliation.”

Survivors, families, and community members requiring support are asked to contact Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS). The IRSSS Crisis line is available for those who may need counselling at 1-800-721-0066.

READ MORE: PIB accepting donations for an eternal flame at Residential School Survivors Memorial

READ MORE: Lakeshore display honours, mourns 215 children

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.



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