Canada Saskatoon boy's death at recess a tragic safety reminder for Regina educators

21:41  13 september  2017
21:41  13 september  2017 Source:   Leader Post

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Saskatoon boy ' s death at recess a tragic safety reminder for Regina educators . Regina ’s two school divisions are mindful of safety after a boy was found dead in a pond near his Saskatoon school on Monday.

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091217-no_object-dundonald-W.jpg:   © Morgan Modjeski  

With three Regina schools situated not far from Wascana Creek, the city’s two school divisions are mindful of safety after a boy was found dead in a pond near his Saskatoon school on Monday.

“Obviously there was an awful incident up in Saskatoon yesterday and I know our staff work very hard to ensure our students are safe in our schools,” Mike Walter, deputy director of school services for the Regina Public School Division, said Tuesday.

Two public schools are close to the creek — Walker little more than 100 metres distant, and Ruth M. Buck about 50 metres. Others, like the new Ecole Harbour Landing School, are located not far from a storm channel.

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“We do have a few schools near storm channels, and one with a creek situated not right on school property, but a good distance away and across from the green space,” said Twylla West, spokeswoman for the Regina Catholic School Division.

The Catholic St. Joan of Arc School is about 60 metres from Wascana Creek.

The pond at Saskatoon’s Dundonald School, where a kindergarten student was found after recess on Monday morning, is about 100 metres from the school. A petition has been organized to have the pond surrounded by a fence.

In the cases of the Regina schools, the water is open. Walter said some schoolyards are completely fenced in.

Teachers and staff try to make students aware of their surroundings, “whether it’s specific to water or more general,” said Walter.

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“We have our teachers talk to kids directly about that to ensure they know and understand, ‘You cannot go near that water; you have to look both ways before you cross the street; you have to ensure there’s no train coming before you cross the train tracks.’ Those are things we do on an ongoing basis.”

He said there is no set schedule for teachers to broach the subject, but students are typically reminded in September, then again periodically throughout the school year.

West said the principal at St. Joan of Arc reminded the entire school about safety and spoke with his staff in light of the Saskatoon incident.

Both school divisions are confident they have adequate supervision on the playground.

Walter said the number of supervisors depends on the size of the area and the number of students.

“If you’ve got an open area where all the students are playing in a certain area, you might have three or four supervisors out in that area, depending upon the number of students,” he said.

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West said her school division has a ratio of 100 students per adult at recess, and 60 students per adult during the lunch hour. The number is typically higher in the first weeks of school, as new students get accustomed to rules and routines.

She said there are always at least two supervisors: That way, if one specific student needs attention, another adult can watch the group.

Older students also help keep an eye on younger students at recess, she said.

Walter said it is a shared responsibility of teachers, parents and community members to ensure children’s safety.

The waterway doesn’t disappear when the school bell rings.

“That’s a part of their community whether they’re in school or whether they’re playing in the evenings or on the weekends, so I think we all have to work together to ensure that students understand that water can be very dangerous,” said Walter.

West wanted to remind parents to speak regularly to their children about potential dangers or hazards, including water safety.

amartin@postmedia.com

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