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Burnaby school flags at half-mast for 215 children found buried at Kamloops residential school

Students and staff invited to wear orange this week to show respect, support for grieving Indigenous communities
Canadian flags at Burnaby schools are flying at half-mast in honour of the 215 children whose remains were recently found buried at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Flags at Burnaby schools will fly at half-mast until further notice, and staff and students are invited to wear orange this week in honour of the 215 Indigenous children found buried at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“Our deepest and most sincere condolences go out to the families of the children and to all communities closely affected. The impact of this tragedy is vast, and our hearts are also with Indigenous students, families and staff in the Burnaby school district,” states a letter to parents signed by district principal of Indigenous education Rob Smyth, school board chair Jen Mezei and superintendent Gina Niccoli-Moen.

After hearing the news about the discovery, local school officials connected with Indigenous elders and other members of the local Indigenous community to ask for guidance on how best to “come together, provide space to heal, and mourn alongside one another,” according to the letter.

To acknowledge the buried children, honour those who have suffered trauma and harm at the former residential school in Kamloops, and pay respect to families and communities who are mourning, the Canadian flags at local schools will be flying at half-mast until further notice.

Students and staff are also invited to wear orange to show respect and support.

“In difficult times, it is even more important to lift each other up and continue the healing journey together,” states the letter.

The letter said the district’s Indigenous education team has been offered time to heal through a drum circle and will be connecting with school learning communities to ensure they have what they need to lead during this time.  

The letter also linked to a number of resources:

  • School counsellors
  • Indian Residential Schools Survivor Society 24 Hour Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
  • Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society Resolution Health Support Program: 1-877-477-0775 (Support services for former residential school students and their families)
  • First Nations Health Authority – Virtual Counselling and Health Services 1-855-344-3800 (
  • More school district resources

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