Dear Beatty Fleming Families:
It is with great sadness that I inform you that our school principal, Debra Allen, died tragically on Saturday afternoon. Her death is a loss to us all. She will be remembered as a very positive instructional leader. She worked tirelessly with students and their parents to help them achieve their potential and turn mistakes into positive learning situations. We know that you will join us in extending our deepest sympathy to the Allen family.
This tragedy has brought great sadness to students and staff at Beatty Fleming Sr. P.S. Teachers will be speaking with their classes Monday morning to share the news with students. Members of the Peel District School Board’s Critical Incident Response Team will be at the school Monday to provide support to students and staff.
Children's reactions to a death may be delayed. It's important to reassure children, spend extra time with them and be available to them when they want to talk about their feelings. When grieving begins, children must be told that their feelings are normal and acceptable. Here are some ways you can help your child deal with feelings of grief and sadness:
- Talk about the death in a simple, straightforward way. Acknowledge the loss and the emotional distress. Even if your son or daughter did not know the person well, this loss may still be upsetting.
- Be available to your child. If you don't know the right thing to say, just listen.
- Provide a reassuring environment in which your child feels comfortable expressing his or her thoughts and feelings.
- Encourage your child to experience the loss in the way that's most comfortable for him or her. Some children 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 with bereavement and what helped you cope.
- Encourage your child to follow normal routines as much as possible. Offer your child practical support—like helping with homework and catching up on assignments.
- Acknowledge that there's no time limit on grieving.
Be aware of signs that your child 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.
Our hearts go out to Debra’s family. We will set up a memorial table where students can write messages of remembrance and condolence and our flag will be lowered to half-mast to honour Ms. Allen's memory. The details regarding funeral arrangements are not available at this time.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call the vice-principal, Andre Gravelijn, at the school at 905-457-6107.
Superintendent of Education
Memorial table for Debra Allen at Beatty-Fleming Sr. P.S.
Close-up of memorial table for Debra Allen at Beatty-Fleming Sr. P.S.
Student messages for Debra Allen posted on wall at Beatty-Fleming Sr. P.S.