La Loche teachers return to school following fatal shooting

Teachers returned to the high school in La Loche, Sask., for the first time since two of their colleagues were killed in a shooting there last month.

RCMP say liason officer placed in high school until end of school year

A memorial for the La Loche, Sask. shooting victims sits outside the La Loche Community School. (Matt Kruchak/CBC)

Teachers returned to the high school in La Loche, Sask., on Monday for the first time since two of their colleagues were killed in a shooting at the school on Jan. 22, which also saw two brothers killed at a separate location and seven people injured and sent to hospital.

"Today was a critical day for us, because today was when all the staff arrived," said Ken Ladouceur, director of education with the Northern Lights School Division, which oversees La Loche Community School.

"We had to make sure our staff were ready, and we had to show them the respect of giving them the time they needed," he said of time spent meeting with school staff Monday afternoon.

Ken Ladouceur is the director of education with the Northern Lights School Division. (Matt Kruchak/CBC)

To help everyone transition back into the classroom, 12 guest teachers from across the province are arriving on Tuesday. They'll shadow the teachers, and if someone needs a break, a guest teacher will take over.

Ladouceur said he wasn't privy to what the teachers talked about in their meetings. 

"I'll be perfectly honest with you, even I didn't attend that because it's that intimate and that much family," he said. "And it's between the administrators and the teachers themselves, and that's something we'll all respect."

Kevin Janvier, acting mayor of La Loche, said the return of teachers to the school means a lot to the community and to him.

"Like I said, education needs to be a priority in La Loche, and let's all move forward here," he said.

La Loche RCMP have confirmed that a school resource officer will be posted in the building until the end of the school year. A regular patrol officer has volunteered to take on the position.

In addition to the RCMP officer at the school, Ladouceur said the school division has hired a security service. The high school and Ducharme Elementary School will both have three security staff working in the buildings from morning to evening.

According to information from Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall's office, students are scheduled to begin classes on Friday.

Kevin Janvier is the acting mayor of La Loche, Sask. (Matt Kruchak/CBC)

Police tape no longer surrounds the school, but the main entrance is now boarded up. A roadside memorial — made of snow-covered candles, flowers and stuffed animals — remains outside of the school.

Education Minister Don Morgan, Government Relations Minister Jim Reiter and the minister responsible for rural and remote health, Greg Ottenbreit, were in La Loche on Saturday, meeting with school division and village officials. 

Morgan is scheduled to return to the town this week.

Classes at the elementary school, where the Canadian flag remains at half mast, have also been cancelled since the shooting. Those students will return to the school on Tuesday for an open house and cultural event.

The community is organizing a "reclaiming our school" walk on Wednesday. Another open house and cultural event is planned for students and the community that day. 

Suspect in court

Those killed in the school shooting have been identified as teacher's assistant Marie Janvier, 21, and teacher Adam Wood, 35. Of the seven people injured, four victims have since been released from Royal Univeristy Hospital in Saskatoon.

Brothers Dayne, 17, and Drayden Fontaine, 13, were found dead in a home near the school.

The 17-year-old charged in connection with the shooting deaths made his second court appearance on Monday.

He's charged with four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder. He also faces one count of unauthorized possession of a firearm.

The Crown says it will apply to have the 17-year-old sentenced as an adult, if he's convicted.

Students from Grades 7 to 12 attend La Loche Community School. (Matt Kruchak/CBC)