Accused in La Loche shooting appears in court as teachers return to school
A memorial grows as more people leave flowers and candles in front of the La Loche Community School in La Loche, Sask. on Sunday, January 24, 2016. (Jason Franson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, February 22, 2016 4:08AM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 22, 2016 8:17PM EST
LA LOCHE, Sask. -- Teachers returned Monday to a northern Saskatchewan school that was the site of a deadly shooting, but the front entrance to the building remained boarded up.
Education Minister Don Morgan says the doors through which a shooter entered La Loche high school Jan. 22 is sealed off and a different entrance will be used for returning students.
Morgan said repairs have been made and parts of the school will be used by counsellors to help students cope as they gradually resume classes.
"The counsellors that they're using have suggested not to have a specific date or a specific time and saying, 'This is it. Ring the bell and classes start,"' Morgan said in an interview Monday with The Canadian Press.
"They're saying bring the people in gradually, both the staff and the students. Let them spend a day or two sort of reacquainting themselves, getting comfortable with going through the different parts of the school."
The community is organizing a "Reclaiming Our School" walk for Wednesday.
Teacher Adam Wood and teacher's aide Marie Janvier were killed and seven other people were wounded at the school, while teenage brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine were found dead in a nearby home.
A 17-year-old youth charged with four counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder appeared via video in court in Meadow Lake on Monday afternoon. He stood quietly, wearing a grey sweatshirt.
Court heard that the Crown will apply to have the teen sentenced as an adult if he is convicted.
The teen's lawyer, Darren Kraushaar, said he's waiting to see more evidence.
"We've received some disclosure, but I understand there's going to be a fair bit of disclosure that's going to be coming in," Kraushaar told the court via conference call.
Prosecutor Lloyd Stang said that disclosure "is on its way."
The case has been put over to April 12 in La Loche and the teen will appear via closed-circuit TV.
About a dozen teachers from elsewhere in the province are at the high school to help returning teachers adjust, Morgan said. There are "probably some" teachers that won't return, but Morgan added he didn't know for sure.
Recruiting teachers to remote schools has long been tough in Saskatchewan.
Morgan pointed out that three new staff members started at the La Loche hospital the day of the shooting and they're staying.
"They said that they believe in the community, even though they're new there, and want to stay. And I think that's the way it is with a lot of the teachers that are there. I think most of them believe in the community and want to stay there," he said.
"But getting people attracted to come up is going to be a bit of a challenge."
The education minister met with town council and toured the school on the weekend. Morgan said it was "a really difficult walk through."
"You knew what had happened and you just thought, 'Why did this happen in Saskatchewan?"'