British Columbia

'It's just devastating': elementary school grieving after B.C. First Nations child dies

Port Alberni's Haahuupayak Elementary School is closed for the rest of the week following the death of a young student.

RCMP and B.C. Coroners Service are investigating

The child who died was a student at Haahuupayak Elementary School. (Haahuupayak Elementary School)

Port Alberni's Haahuupayak Elementary School is closed for the rest of the week following the death of a young student.

An urgent notice was sent to parents and caregivers of students at the school stating its closure from Wednesday to Friday was "out of respect for the family who has lost a loved one."

Haahuupayak Elementary principal Wayne Peterson says the entire community is in shock.

"It's been really difficult. The student was here for a couple of years. We are really like a family here, and its just devastating to our staff as well," Peterson said.

Students are also off next week for spring break.

The notice, also posted on social media, said the student who died was part of the "Haahuupayak family and thoughts and prayers go out to the family in their time of need." 

Peterson says he will be at the school to address any questions or concerns, and cultural and health supports will be put in place there and in the community in case any student or parent needs it.

Coroner investigating 

Port Alberni RCMP told CBC News that on Tuesday morning it attended a local  home after receiving a report of a child in medical distress. 

An RCMP representative said the child was transported to hospital and, "tragically, did not survive'.
 
It says the public is not at risk and no further information will be released as the death is now an ongoing investigation

The B.C. Coroners Service has confirmed it is also investigating the death but no other details have been released by officials at this time.

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