The Kids of Jack Hulland Elementary – The Statement of Claim Against the Yukon Department of Education

Warning: This multi-part series deals with the physical abuse of vulnerable children in the public school system. If you or someone you love is experiencing trauma-related symptoms from physical abuse, please seek help. Resources in Canada can be found here: For children, Kids Help Phone: Call 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free) or text CONNECT to 686868.

Forcible confinement, restraints that lasted for hours, regular seclusion for large portions of the school day (without direct supervision) – all of this and more can be found in the Statement of Claim filed with the Supreme Court of the Yukon on October 31, 2022

It outlines the details of the abuse alleged by former students at Jack Hulland Elementary School in Whitehorse, Yukon.

This is a warning about the use of very strong language in the Statement of Claim, as it should be. Nobody in a position of power has the right to harm a child. And nobody in a position of power has the right to bury or hide what they know about harm being done to children. We have laws in Canada that were written to protect children from abuse. But how are those responsible being held accountable?

The Statement of Claim can be found in its entirety here:

Below I will summarize some of the allegations made against the Yukon Government, Department of Education.

Let’s begin with the regular use of seclusion to discipline and exclude students (something not even permitted in jails in Canada)

The Statement of Claim outlines the construction of the “study carrels” in “The Nest”, where children were forcibly confined, repeatedly, sometimes for many hours at a time. It identifies the practice of leaving children to be watched by video camera, without direct supervision by an adult.

Again, the Department of Education has admitted that their internal investigation revealed the inappropriate use of seclusion by staff at Jack Hulland Elementary. An important question at this point might be, “What happened to the staff who were responsible for harming children through the use of confinement and seclusion?”.

The Statement of Claim goes on to note that staff subjected children to unlawful imprisonment, a form of corporal punishment. The Yukon Education Act prohibits the use of corporal punishment in Yukon schools. Who is responsible for enforcing the Education Act, and why was this section of the Act ignored by the Deputy Minister and her Assistant Deputy Ministers?

The Statement of Claim also alleges that teaching staff at Jack Hulland Elementary frequently used restraints and holds, often for hours, on children as young as kindergarten age, when the children posed no risk to themselves or others. It alleges staff used what amounts to assault, as a form of discipline, when children failed to follow the HAWK code (posted in every classroom and in the hallway).

How is it possible that an elementary school, in the public school system in Canada, could use these measures on children for so many years? Over the next few instalments, we’ll examine the structure of the education system in the Yukon, and how this system structure contributed to supporting the open abuse of children in a Whitehorse school.

Thank you for your interest in this series so far. Please leave any questions or comments you may have, and be sure to share this series with others.

Featured Image by Rajesh Rajput on Unsplash

The Kids of Jack Hulland Elementary

  1. Introduction
  2. Timeline Part 1 (Class Action Lawsuit)
  3. Timeline Part 2 (RCMP)
  4. Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada
  5. The Statement of Claim
  6. The Yukon Child and Youth Advocate’s Office
  7. The [Missing] Kids of Jack Hulland Elementary
  8. Week 1 Summary
  9. The Federal NDP Attempt to Repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada (Bill C-273)
  10. UPDATE: Bill C-273
  11. UPDATE: Supreme Court of Yukon Decision March 27, 2024
  12. UPDATE: Yukon Child and Youth Advocate’s Office PODCAST
  13. No Pain, No Shame, No Blame (American Academy of Paediatrics)
  14. Senator Stan Kutcher and Bill S-251 to Repeal Section 43
  15. Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action 6
  16. The Rights of Children
  17. The Public Education System in the Yukon
  18. Ronald Morrish – Discipline that Harms
  19. Ethical Practice and the Teaching Profession
  20. Recap and FAQ
  21. Childhood Trauma – ACES
  22. The long-term impact of physical abuse of children
  23. What we know about corporal punishment of children

Class Action Lawsuit: Were you (or someone you know) a student at Jack Hulland Elementary School in Whitehorse, Yukon during the years 2007 to 2022? You may be entitled to compensation as part of a class action lawsuit against the Yukon Department of Education. Please contact Tucker-Carruthers Yukon Law for more information. Website: or contact Heather Jordan, Paralegal at 867-667-2099 or email

Who I Am: My name is Donna Miller Fry. I was Superintendent of Schools in Whitehorse, Yukon when I became aware that prior to my arrival, children at Jack Hulland Elementary School were being restrained and secluded as a method of discipline – for years. I (and others) reported this to the RCMP on November 29, 2021. Since then, the Department of Education has admitted the inappropriate use of restraints and seclusion. The victims have resorted to legal action to obtain professional support in addressing the impacts of trauma. This can never happen again in the public school system. By telling this story, I hope to empower education leaders to ensure vulnerable children are never again the victims of abuse in the very place that should be dedicated to their flourishing.

2 thoughts on “The Kids of Jack Hulland Elementary – The Statement of Claim Against the Yukon Department of Education

  1. This is stunning! I am learning from this post that they constructed specific rooms for isolation. Sounds like more like isolation in a jail than I was originally imagining. Every time I have moved to a new school I have become more aware of how certain traditions and practices become school culture and people stop questioning them.

    Is Jack Holland the only school in that board that was doing this?

    1. Hi Lisa. Thanks so much for your comment and question.

      You are so right. Culture was a huge part of what was happening at Jack Hulland Elementary (check out my earlier posts on school culture when I was leading some learning in YT as we were trying to shift that very culture)..

      I’ll be addressing what we know about ‘The Nest’, and the cubicles where children were secluded for hours while being watched by video stream in a future post, but yes, they were a separate build.

      Of course there are rumours about similar rooms in other schools in the Yukon, but my focus is the children from Jack Hulland who were traumatized and still need access to care.

      There are some remarkable schools in the Yukon.
      It’s a system of individual schools more than a “school system” that would be more familiar to Ontario educators, a detail I’ll also share in an upcoming post. I want to emphasize that there IS amazing work being done in YT.

      But, there is also a lot of work ahead to address harm done to some current and former students from Jack Hulland Elementary.

      I’m grateful for your interest and I hope you will continue to weigh in on this situation. It’s by engaging teachers and educators across Canada that we can ensure this never happens to another child.

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