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Catholic board offers healing circle after remark

The Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board will hold a "restorative healing circle" for three Fort William First Nation students and a staff member at Pope John Paul the Second school.

School staff member made remark to a group of students earlier this week

The Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board will hold a "restorative healing circle" for three Fort William First Nation students and a staff member at Pope John Paul the Second school.

The board has already apologized to the boys and their families for an offensive remark that was made to them after the fire at the James Street swing bridge.

Joan Powell, director of education with the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board. (Supplied)

"With the facilitator assisting, they talk about what's happened and everyone is given a chance to talk,” said Joan Powell, director of education with Thunder Bay Catholic Schools.

“They talk about how they feel, they talk about what they see as the main issues, and they talk about what they'd like to see coming out of the healing circle. And then, after everyone's voice is heard, a written agreement is crafted by the facilitator. Everyone again gets a final chance to speak, and the agreement is signed."

The healing circle, which will take place this week, is comprised of two trained facilitators (one is Aboriginal), the school principal, the staff member in question, the students involved, as well as one support person per student.

Powell said the board is also in the midst of delivering cultural training to all teachers and school administrative staff, including education about First Nations history.

"Hopefully, at the end of the healing circle, people will feel that they've been listened to, they've been respected, [and] they've agreed to a process to move ahead, and we move forward,” Powell said.

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