Staff and students offered choice of returning to Racette 2
Division will not force students to return where deadly incident occured
Students of Racette Junior High School will be given the option of returning to Racette 2 after the Christmas break, a decision made following a closed meeting held last week with parents.
Heather Starosielski, vice-chair of the St. Paul Education Regional Division board, said the Nov. 27 meeting was kept closed to the public due to the sensitive nature of what was being discussed. All SPERD trustees were in attendance at the meeting.
“We do have a plan in place,” said Starosielski, adding the division is hoping to offer students flexibility and choice following their displacement from Racette 2 on Oct. 25, when a van crashed into a Grade 6 classroom, killing one student and seriously injuring two others.
Since the incident, students have been attending classes at St. Paul Regional High School; however, space there is very limited.
The original Racette School is currently undergoing major modernizations and will not be ready for students to move in until spring.
Prior to the meeting, Starosielski said the division met with counselors and trauma experts to decide how to deal with the situation and move forward.
“We are not in any way making anyone go back,” said Starosielski. Racette 2 will technically be ready before Christmas, but the division has decided to wait until after the holidays to offer staff and students the option of moving back into the school.
Although the details are still being worked out, staff will be available at both the Regional High School and Racette 2 to accommodate students, and the division will be approaching the province for support of additional staffing and counseling that might be needed.
Some parents want children to return to a regular school atmosphere at Racette 2, while others are against having their children return to the school, said Starosielski, adding that all the Grade 6 students that were in the classroom where the incident occurred have decided to stay at Regional High School.
“They will stay at Regional and we respect that . . . Everybody has a personal journey where they’re at in this process.” The division will allow staff and students to move forward at their own pace, she said.
The situation will continue to be reassessed as time moves forward, said Starosielski, and the division will hold more meetings as they continue to listen to parents’ feedback.
Last week, Supt. Glen Brodziak said he was in the process of writing a letter to Racette parents regarding the meeting and the plan moving forward. That letter, he said, should be sent home with students this week.