Manitoba

Southeast Collegiate coming to terms with attack on Rinelle Harper

Counsellors are helping those who know Harper from school deal with shock and sadness resulting from the attack.

Staff and students thankful arrests have been made in connection with the case, but mood at school is 'sombre'

Southeast Collegiate director/principal Sheryl McCorrister and lodge manager Will Hudson will a get well card students made for Rinelle Harper.

Staff and students at Southeast Collegiate are trying to come to terms with an attack on friend and fellow classmate, 16-year-old Rinelle Harper.

Harper was sexually assaulted and left unconscious near Winnipeg's Assiniboine River on Nov. 7. Her parents, Julie and Caesar Harper, spoke publicly about the incident for the first time on Thursday.

Counsellors are helping those who know Harper from school deal with shock and sadness resulting from the attack.

Originally from Garden Hill First Nation in northern Manitoba, Harper, along with 137 fellow students, stays in residence while attending Southeast Collegiate.

Will Hudson is a lodge manager at the school, and he says everyone is breathing a sigh of relief after arrests have been made in connection with the case.

Hudson also noted that while the mood at the school is sombre, students are banding together and everyone appreciates support from the outside community. 

"Students miss her. And staff miss her," Hudson said. "And we think she's super strong for going through what she went through. So we can't wait to have her back."

Students are making a giant get well card and will be delivering it to Harper's hospital bed on Thursday.

"So our students started this on their own, really," Hudson said, referring to the card, which is filled with heartfelt messages from Harper's friends.

"You don't really have to ask them to do anything on something like this."

Meanwhile, Southeast Collegiate officials say they are working with RCMP to improve safety orientation sessions for their students, who are all from northern Manitoba reserves.

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