Six Saskatchewan cabinet ministers are visiting the remote northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche where staff and students at the high school said they feel like they’ve been abandoned since a deadly shooting a year ago.
Education Minister Don Morgan, who is also deputy premier, says they’re meeting with town and school officials to find out if supports are working and what more can be done.
FULL COVERAGE: La Loche school shooting
A gunman opened fire at the La Loche high school in January 2016, killing a teacher and teacher’s aide, and wounding seven others.
School principal Greg Hatch said last month that there was some help for about a month after the shooting, but after that, the school was left on its own to make it through the year.
Morgan says there are more school counsellors, improvements have been made to adult education and skills training, and there’s a new affordable housing project for the community.
But he says wants to “dig deeper” and talk with the principal and teachers to get a sense directly from them about what is needed.
“So the question that I would have for them is, is this working, is this type of thing that you need, are these things leading to employment opportunities and is there other things that you think we should do that would not indicate that we’re not doing our part? What else do they need?” Morgan said Wednesday in a phone interview from La Loche.
Morgan says the town council wants the province to provide resources, “but they very much want to chart and plan their own path forward.”
“They don’t want this to be a Regina-driven solution or a ministry-driven solution or from the school division,” he said.
Hatch also said last month that staff and students were traumatized and still haven’t dealt with the trauma. Students are struggling in school and staff are struggling with their work, he said.
A message left for Hatch on Wednesday was not immediately returned.
The shooter also killed two brothers at a nearby home before he went to the school.
A teenager, who was 17 at the time, pleaded guilty last October to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder. He is to be sentenced in the spring.
The Crown has said it will argue to have him sentenced as an adult.
Details of the case have yet to be revealed in court, though some have said the shooter was the victim of bullying.
© 2017 The Canadian Press