Comox Valley Schools board chair addresses RCMP investigation into assault of student

Comox Valley Schools (School District 71) board of education chair, Janice Caton, issued the following prepared statement, regarding the RCMP investigation into the assault of a student Tuesday morning:

Comox Valley Schools takes the physical assault of a student very seriously.

RELATED: RCMP seek witnesses after student attacked by group of teens

A physical assault is how this was reported, so it is important to differentiate the incident from bullying and harassment. Whether assault or bullying, the safety of our students is paramount. When a child reports an assault, we institute our safety protocols and we will work very closely with the RCMP through a well-defined threat assessment protocol and investigation process.

Board of Education chair, Janice Caton

Our board and staff will immediately act when the safety and welfare of a child is infringed. Our district has resources in place to both resolve current issues and to provide education to our students about the impact bullying and harassment has on both the victim and perpetrator. We utilize administration, counsellors, outside resources, and families to educate on this important issue.

The province of BC also has ERASE bully program. ERASE is all about building safe and caring school communities. This includes empowering students, parents, educators and the community partners who support them to get help with challenges. The program offers a Report It Tool and is a safe way to notify a school or school district coordinator privately. All school districts have an obligation to inform the ministry on how a report to ERASE was handled and what actions were taken to resolve the incident.

While we cannot comment on an open investigation, we want our community to understand how deeply concerned we are for the student, supporting to the family as the RCMP continue their investigation.

If you witnessed any suspicious activity or might have information to help the RCMP you can report it to BC Crime Stoppers, the school or the school district, or directly to the local RCMP detachment.

Again, we want to remind the community, particularly our students that we have measures and support in place if they need to talk to a safe adult about a problem. There is always a place to turn to. The safety and wellbeing of our students is our top priority. All students and staff are entitled to a safe learning environment free of assault, bullying or threating behaviour of any kind.

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