SASKATOON – The RCMP hasn’t released a motive, but people living in La Loche, Sask. have said the 17-year-old accused of killing four people was bullied. Students in the community about 600 kilometres north of Saskatoon took part in multiple anti-bullying programs, according to the Government of Saskatchewan.
The suspect, whose name can’t be released under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, faces four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder.
One initiative, ‘Beyond the Hurt,’ was a two-day workshop led by facilitators from the Canadian Red Cross, focusing on how youth can be active participants in bullying prevention.
“One of the primary goals is youth engagement and trying to create an awareness about bullying among adults and youth in a particular community or a particular school,” said Norm Jakubowski, manager of education for Western Canada, with the Red Cross.
Fifteen youth, three adults and two RCMP members received in-person training on April 30 and May 1, 2015 in La Loche.
The provincial government contributed $138,000 over the past two fiscal years to support the Red Cross’ ‘Respect Education’ program, which includes Beyond the Hurt.
A Kids Help Phone initiative connected some La Loche students with counsellors via telephone. Students also participated in an online bullying forum as recently as Nov. 2015, according to the Ministry of Education.
FULL COVERAGE: La Loche school shooting
Brian Trainor, a retired sergeant with the Saskatoon Police Service, said he wasn’t surprised to learn the Friday afternoon shooting may have been connected to bullying.
“They don’t have the services. They have nothing to do in the evening. There’s just nothing going on. There’s no mental health services,” Trainor said.
Brothers Drayden Fontaine, 13, and Dayne Fontaine, 17, were killed at a La Loche home Friday. La Loche Community School staff members Marie Janvier, 21, and Adam Wood, 35, were also killed.
The alleged shooter remains in custody and is scheduled to make his next court appearance by video on Feb. 22.
With files from The Canadian Press
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