Last August our school was vandalized and because of the hard work by a number of teachers and support staff, the school was cleaned up, the books and library were cleaned up and we were ready to go for day 1 of the 2013-14 school year. We were missing a few windows and we made do without the technology that was damaged beyond use.
One young man was responsible for the vandalism and the news of what had happened flooded the national news for several days. He was held criminally responsible for the vandalism.
The young man’s family requested that he be permitted to return to school a few weeks into Sept. and after a meeting with the school board, he was allowed to return to school on certain conditions. One was that he publicly apologize to the community. The young man left his treatment program for a short time in order to do this.
Last Friday, in front of a large crowd of chiefs, elders, and community members he gave his public apology. It was a moving and heart felt apology that obviously took a lot out of him. The community listened to every word and there was quiet in the building as he spoke with his family all around him as a display of support. Afterwards the community members in attendance gave him a standing ovation.
This young man is headed back to treatment to finish this off and I invited him to my office as I wanted to provide him with a response as the principal of the school. I wanted to encourage him to stay on his path. Here is what I read to him as part of a meeting we had on Monday morning before he left to return to treatment:
May 26, 2014
When I met you (name,) I only knew you by what I was told by others and by what I saw that early morning in Aug when I walked into the school and saw the aftermath of what you unleashed on the school.
It was a terribly disturbing scene to see. A walk through the school was a challenge because there were chunks of glass and splinters everywhere in the office, in the hallways, and on desks in the main office. The library shelving was overturned and sprayed with the fire extinguisher so there was a film of residue everywhere. A brand new smart board was damaged before it could be installed. Phones were ripped out of the wall jacks. Some laptops were damaged. It was an upsetting time especially for brand new teachers who had just arrived. One of them asked me if this was how it is here…
A few weeks after school got underway, I received a letter requesting permission for you to return to school. The board and the vice principal met with you and your guardians to discuss your return to school and they gave you a conditional return.
You were placed on a limited school timetable as we wanted to give you no opportunity to get into trouble. You must have felt that you were under our scrutiny because you were.
(Name), you rose to the challenge and it must have been very hard for you some days. As principal, I was firm with you, but I hope you thought I was fair. I had clear expectations and at least once verbally reminded you of our expectations. You never talked back or complained.
Over time, (Name), it was obvious that you grew to enjoy school and we saw another side of you that showed what you are made of. Teachers’ hearts softened when they saw they saw in you a beautiful and talented young man who just needed a chance. You showed that you had a great sense of humour, a ready smile, and a bit of a mischief to go along with that. (Name), you did everything we asked you to do and more.
- You attended school every day
- You were respectful
- You showed your academic potential and achieved B Honours on your first report card.
- You found a place in the hearts of many people at the school.
- You showed us what a skilled athlete you are.
- You allowed us to see your beautiful spirit and kind disposition.
Before you left (Name), to go to treatment, you publicly thanked your teachers over the PA for believing in you and for supporting you. It was an emotional time for all of us. That was a courageous and heartfelt thing to do. It took a lot but you did it. I’ll never forget that.
The school board took a chance in allowing you to return to school and you rose to the challenge.
This crisis in your life presented you with the opportunity to turn your life around and you are doing it.
(Name), on behalf of the staff at BBCS, I want to wish you the best as you forge your pathway in life. You have our hearts and you have what It takes to stay on this path. Teach others about how you have been able to turn your life around and grow from this. You have a lifetime ahead of you. Fill it with all that is most precious to you. Send me a note now and then please… and yes, come back next year and speak to the student body. This is after all, your home.
Mrs. Gladish, BBCS Principal