Several students received non-life threatening injuries during a serious incident involving an edged weapon at Manitoulin Secondary School on Tuesday, September 14. Three youth, who cannot be identified under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, are facing charges related to the incident. The investigation is still being conducted.
School staff acted quickly to de-escalate the altercation between students that occurred at dismissal. Members of the Manitoulin detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the UCCM Anishinaabe Police Service responded to the call.
Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) Director of Education Bruce Bourget praised the actions of school staff. “Certainly they worked very courageously and showed good dedication to help disperse the initial altercation and then settle things,” he said.
Members of the RDSB Mental Health Team were joined by the Mnidoo Mnising Crisis Response Team, school board administrators and local First Nations representatives to offer support and a “strong circle of care” to students on Wednesday. Members of the OPP and UCCM Police were also on site throughout the day.
“We’re very thankful and grateful for the tremendous support from the community,” Director Bourget said. “There is so much collaboration with all community groups. I certainly want to thank our community partners. We have been working collaboratively with M’Chigeeng First Nation and Chief Linda Debassige. We are also working with Chief Andrew Agonie from Sheguiandah First Nation, the OPP and UCCM Anishnaabe Police and the many community partners who just wrapped the school with support today to make sure we’re moving forward and working to support everybody involved and continue to work collaboratively.”
“We will be working forward with all of our partners,” he added. “We’re always looking at ways that we can support our school and our students and our community. There will be meetings that follow as a result of this certainly, to debrief and to make sure that we collaborate and ensure that we have some very positive next steps for all involved.”
A 16-year-old from M’Chigeeng First Nation has been charged with assault causing bodily harm, contrary to section 267(b) of the Criminal Code (CC); assault with a weapon, contrary to section 267(a) of the CC; and possession of a weapon for dangerous purpose, contrary to section 88 of the CC.
A 15-year-old and a 17-year-old, both from Sheguiandah First Nation, have been charged with assault causing bodily harm, contrary to section 267(b) of the CC.
All youth have been released on bail and are scheduled to appear in court in October.
There is no public safety concern, say police.
Lori Thompson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Manitoulin Expositor