Allegations at Gillham School: Vice Principal Accused of Disturbing Directive to Student

In a shocking incident alleged to have occurred at Gillam School in Manitoba, Fox Lake Cree Nation members are standing united in calling for the removal of the school’s Vice Principal.

“On November 8, a school official approached three young girls in the bathroom and accused them of vaping. The students were sent to the office and asked to empty their pockets and remove their boots. Two students were released when the search came up empty, and one was told to stay.

The 12-year-old female was then ordered to pull down her pants. The child refused and was again told to “pull down her pants, ” to which the student complied.” Stated Juanita Massan, mother of the young girl.

According to the family, the parents only became aware of the incident later in the day, attempted to address the issue at the school, and were denied access to speak with the Vice Principal. Mrs Lavallee, the child’s grandmother, also notified the local RCMP detachment of the incident, and they were on the scene at the school to mediate between the parents and the administrators. The young girl’s parents were ultimately escorted out of the building as tensions were high, and the school’s administration declined to communicate with them and closed the facilities to outside visitors.

Following the parents’ departure from the premises, the family said they received a phone call from Gillam school, advising them to refrain from contacting the school’s Superintendent—an unusual request.

Subsequently, we emailed the Frontier School Division to address the family’s allegations, but unfortunately, we received no response.
Disturbingly, the affected child’s grandmother contacted Superintendent McCaskill to address the concerns of her granddaughter, in which she stated he followed up with her a day later.

According to the Grandmother, Superintendant McCaskill informed her he had spoken to the vice principal and confirmed she denied the allegations. In addition, he informed her that there would be no investigation and that the Vice Principal would continue to operate in the school.

Despite the discomfort felt by the students, the school officials reportedly refused to remove the Vice Principal after the alleged incident. As a result, according to the families, two of the three girls have not returned to school, nor have teachers contacted them to provide work-at-home material. This has prompted the guardians to consider sending them to another school almost an hour away.

The grandmother and family said, “They did not understand why the Superintendent would take the side of the Vice Principal and have her remain in the school until a formal investigation has been completed.” In addition, they stated the Awasis Agency had initiated an investigation into the incident, which contradicts the alleged statements of the Superintendent.

The parents filed a report with the RCMP on November 10 for child abuse, applied for a protection order against the Vice Principal, and are still awaiting the status of the report.

As per the grandmother, meeting with the school’s Principal, Wissam Kabbani, took almost a week. The guardians of the children requested the removal of the Vice Principal pending further investigation. However, the principal asserted it was beyond his authority and suggested taking the matter to the Frontier School Division.

This was not the response the family was expecting and further highlights the need to address the school’s and division’s policies when an allegation of abuse has been reported.

It was not long until the alleged incident made its way throughout the community, resulting in a flurry of inbox messages to the child’s mother in support. Parents disclosed in confidence their grievances with the Vice Principal.

Parents of the affected children demanded swift action against the officials involved, and a peaceful protest occurred in front of Gillam School. As a result of the protest, the Gillam School cancelled classes for the day, except for teachers and support staff, who are expected to report to work.

Amid the serious allegations against the Vice Principal, the gravity of the situation is heightened by the absence of formal proof, as investigations are reportedly underway. This uncertainty, however, presents a crucial juncture for the school and the division to reassess their approach to handling allegations of abuse against authoritative figures, in this case, the Vice Principal.

In education and professional organizations and the workforce, it is customary to promptly remove any authority figure accused of misconduct to safeguard the wellbeing of children and provide the accused an opportunity to clear their name. This measured response protects potential victims and allows the accused to address and refute any claims against them, adhering to the principles of justice and fairness.

The pertinent question arises: why has Gillham School and the Frontier Division not employed this prudent method? This inquiry necessitates a response from the institutions in question. Delving into the reasons behind this deviation from standard practice is essential for transparency, accountability, and, ultimately, ensuring the safety and integrity of the educational environment. As the investigation unfolds, the school and division must reflect on and revise their protocols, establishing a precedent that prioritizes the wellbeing of students and the fairness owed to all parties involved.

As a survivor of residential school, the grandmother is confronted with painful memories resurfacing when her granddaughter experiences a traumatic incident. The echoes of her own past make sleep elusive, as the distressing events bring back haunting recollections, intertwining her history with the challenges her granddaughter now faces. The night becomes a restless journey, underscoring the enduring impact of generational trauma and highlighting the urgent need for empathy and support within the family.