Red River College hires external investigator after 'horrific incident' involving student
External investigator probes if safety protocols were followed by Selkirk Behavioural Health Foundation
After the brutal beating of one of their students while in work placement, Red River College has launched an investigation to see if there's more they can do.
Jackie Healey, 23, is slowly recovering in hospital after she and another woman were badly beaten at the Selkirk Behavioural Health Foundation Sunday night. The Red River College student received a cracked skull and broken teeth on the last day of her work placement through a child and youth worker program.
RRC president Paul Vogt said it was an unprecedented event for the college.
"It is just a horrific incident and of course our thoughts are with Jackie and with the other staff member," he said.
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Around 10 p.m., Healey said she was separated from her supervisor when one of the boys appeared with a bat.
"They hit me multiple times in the head with a bat. My skull is cracked in multiple places around my eye bone here. It's fractured — that's why my eye is really swollen," she said.
RCMP have arrested two suspects, age 16 and 17. Charges against the two have not yet been finalized.
Vogt said a lack of security and safety in the building has "raised some very serious questions."
"We are launching an investigation, it will be conducted by an outside person and we are in touch with the police and we are trying to gather all of the information about this incident," he said.
"Also beyond that, we want to know if there is something that we need to do to ensure that the students we place in practicums such as this are safe."
RRC does work placements as part of the majority of their programs, Vogt said, adding they have agreements with required conditions and orientation sessions. But he said the investigator will look into whether all of the conditions of the agreement were followed at the foundation.
"And frankly whether there is more that we can or should do. We need to be open to that," he added.
RRC has been working with the Selkirk Behavioural Health Foundation for five years, Vogt said.
RRC has been in contact with the Healey family and Vogt said, if recovery allows, they will visit in person sometime on Wednesday. He said they will help to support Healey in her recovery and furthering her education.
Healey's recovery will take time and the student has said she's not sure she will regain her eyesight. Vogt said she will have access to counseling, rehabilitation and other supports through Worker's Compensation because she is considered an employee when doing a practicum.
RRC said they will support Healey in finishing this program, or moving into another if that is her preference.
"We have really been impressed by the resilience that she has shown, very courageous after the trauma of what happened," Vogt said.
According to provincial officials, all residential child care facilities are licensed by the province, and they're required to maintain policies and procedures on dealing with security, managing behaviour and maintaining emergency/safety procedures.