Ele­ven-year-old SaintLa­zare boy found dead

'Dar­kest' mo­ment for fa­mi­ly and com­mu­ni­ty

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

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...'

PHO­TO KRIS­TI­NA ED­SON

Stu­dents and staff at Ever­green Ele­men­ta­ry School in Saint-la­zare are mour­ning the death of a grade-six student.

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