Eleven-year-old SaintLazare boy found dead
'Darkest' moment for family and community
HCircumstances surrounding the death Sunday of an 11-year-old Saint-lazare boy remain shrouded as a family and the close-knit community that rallied to help find the boy, try to make sense of the tragic death.
ours after the Feb. 12 death had been reported, Sûreté du Québec police would only say an investigation was ongoing. No other details were available, said SQ Sgt. Bruno Beaulieu, adding police have not classified it a suspicious death.
Lester B. Pearson school board officials later confirmed, however, that a gradesix student at Evergreen Elementary School had died over the weekend.
On Sunday, those trying to find the child turned to online mediums like email and Facebook in an effort to mobilize the community.
An Evergreen administrative assistant sent the following email on Feb. 12 at 7:58 p.m. on behalf of school principal Carole Osborne: 'Hello Evergreen families, I have been asked by Ms. Osborne and the staff to send out this very urgent email. One of our grade 6 students was last seen out playing in the Saddlebrook area this afternoon and has not returned home as of yet. If you have seen (him) or know where he is, can you please call his parents.'
The news also quickly spread via Facebook, where the boy’s older brother, a student at Westwood Sr. High School, sought help finding his brother: 'Hey everyone, my brother has gone missing. He left a couple of hours ago, and all he said was that he was going outside. It’s really not like him to just leave like that. If anyone has any idea where he would go or anything at all, please let us know.'
The message was shared or reposted on 324 additional Facebook pages.
Parents in Saint-lazare and Hudson also posted pleas for help on Facebook. At close to 10 p.m. Sunday, one person alerted the on-line community that the boy had been found.
The poster did not know if the boy was okay.
Trauma team in schools
Calling the death of a student a school board’s "darkest, darkest moment," LBPSB chairperson Suanne Stein Day said a trauma team had been sent Monday to Evergreen, as well as to Westwood High School, where friends of the boy’s older brother might need help dealing with their grief.
The boy’s brother was not in school Monday.
The team, comprised of psychologists and psychiatrists, would be on hand "for as long as they’re needed," noted Stein Day.
"They’re there to talk with staff and give advice on how to handle (the death) in a classroom situation. They can also go into the classroom of the child who died to talk to (those students) specifically," she explained, adding teens often have a particularly hard time dealing with grief.
"Teenagers (often) wrestle with it so much more than little guys who maybe don’t understand death," Stein Day noted.
Marilyn Miller, LBPSB Director of Schools for Region 1, which includes many Vaudreuil-soulanges schools, said the board also sent letters home with students Monday informing parents of the tragedy and encouraging them to speak with their children, among other things.
According to information posted on Facebook, the boy, wearing a blue jacket, went missing from his home on Bugle Call St. in Saint-lazare around 4:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, though other reports said he went "out to play" at close to 6 p.m. A photo that was widely circulated showed a happy looking blond haired boy with a sweet smile standing in a kitchen in front of a refrigerator.
The online community continued to keep members posted Monday, as news of the death spread.
'RIP,' wrote one poster, while another acknowledged the circumstances surrounding the death of a child she said was 'so beloved to his family, friends and community: 'The family is not commenting at this time. We can only open our hearts and send our prayers and be there when they need us. Tears are not enough...'
Students and staff at Evergreen Elementary School in Saint-lazare are mourning the death of a grade-six student.