December 7, 2018
Dear Clarkson Secondary School and Hillside Sr. Public School Families,
I'm writing to inform you about an incident that took place in our school community. Peel Regional Police have been conducting an investigation today regarding the death of a 14-year-old boy that took place in the area of Truscott Dr. and Southdown Rd. As this is an ongoing police investigation, this is all of the information we can share at this time. Police believe this is an isolated incident and have assured us there are no additional safety precautions needed at our school. It's important to note that police have not indicated that this incident is connected in any way to the hold-and-secure we had on Monday.
It's important to remember that death can affect students in a variety of ways. Students who have experienced a recent trauma or death in the family may particularly need additional support. As always, guidance counsellors and others are available to offer support to students and staff who may need it. Support will be available to students and staff from both Clarkson Secondary School and Hillside Public School tomorrow, Saturday, between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Clarkson, located at 2524 Bromsgrove Rd.
Be aware of signs that your teen may need additional support to deal with this loss. Warning signs include: prolonged physical/psychological distress (lack of appetite, sudden weight gain, persistent aches and pains, continued panic, anxiety, apathy or depression), becoming violent towards self or others, or decline in school performance. Here are some ways you can help your child deal with the grief and trauma:
· Acknowledge the emotional upset.
· Be available to your teen. If you don't know the right thing to say, just listen and validate.
· Provide a reassuring environment in which your teen feels comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings.
· Encourage your teen to express their emotions in the way that is most comfortable for them. Some people are open about their feelings, while others prefer not to talk about them or may only want to talk to their peers.
· Share an experience you might have had dealing with stressful emotions and what helped you cope.
· Help your teen understand that it's not helpful to engage in speculation and rumours verbally or online.
· Understand that your teen will go on social media. Discuss with your teen to be mindful of their comments and their posts.
· Encourage your teen to engage in self-care activities, for example, ensure they are eating nutritious meals, getting good sleep and engaging in some form of physical activity.
· Encourage your teen to follow normal routines as much as possible. Offer them practical support—like helping with homework and catching up on assignments.
· Seek support from a medical practitioner, if necessary. In case of emergency, please go directly to your closest hospital, i.e. Trillium Health Partners/Credit Valley Hospital.
Here are some community resources:
Peel Crisis Response – 7 days a week – 416-410-8615
Kids Help Phone – 7 days a week – 1-800-668-6868
Distress Line of Peel – 7 days a week – 905-278-7208
Canadian Mental Health Association for 16 and older – 905-278-9036
Peel Children's Centre (Monday to Friday) – 905-451-4655
Tangerine Walk-In Counselling (Tuesday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.) – www.tangerinwalkin.com
Our thoughts are with the family and those impacted at this difficult time. We will continue to provide updates on our school website if we receive any additional information. As always, please call the school to speak with an administrator, if you have questions or concerns.
Mary Zammit/Jim Brooks