TDSB re-dedicates memorial tree to Jordan Manners after original one mistakenly removed
Under a stormy sky, Jordan Manner’s mother Loreen Small wiped away tears as a tree, plaque and bench were re-dedicated to her son, 11 years after his murder.
The ceremony happened Thursday morning, at the same time as the official opening of a new playground and basketball court in the schoolyard of Shoreham Public School in North York. Manners spent his elementary school years at the school.
Small contacted Global News asking for help in March after discovering the original memorial tree and plaque — which were dedicated to her son’s memory — had vanished.
“It’s hurtful, it’s a disrespect, “ she said at the time.
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) originally told Small the tree had been moved while the playground was being re-built, but she did not believe it was the same tree. A week later officials admitted the tree had been removed altogether.
The executive superintendent of the TDSB Karen Falconer said the re-dedication ceremony is the result of their mistake.
“We don’t know how it happened. We put our mind to setting it straight to never let it happen again,” Falconer said.
Small said she is grateful to Global News for helping her get a new tree and plaque in her Manners’ memory.
“Just thank you for being there for me. You know whenever I need a hand, you’re there and I appreciate it,” she said.
Her son, a grade ten student at the time, was shot to death inside C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute in North York in May 2007. The original tree and plaque were erected one year later.
Falconer said the mistake has brought about change within the board.
“We now have new procedures in place, both from the facilities point of view and from the principal point of view,” Falconer said. “We have a system by which, every single memorial tree or plaque will be logged on our site plans.”
“When that’s done, it will also be included in the principal checklist. So when a principal comes into a school and is new, the principal will have to actually sign off, that they acknowledge the presence of any memorial to any student.” she continued, adding the people who look after schools during the summer will also have to check in on the memorials and sign off on them.
Falconer said the death of Manners was something that hit the TDSB family hard.
“We took this very hard when this happened in our school to one of our students so everyone of us was committed to setting this right. It will not happen again.”
The two men — both youth — accused of Manners’ murder were acquitted in 2011 during their second trial. The first trial ended in a mistrial.
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