In addition to the Class Action Lawsuit filed against the Government of Yukon and the Yukon
Department of Education, the RCMP have been investigating the inappropriate use of restraints and seclusion on children since November, 2021.
I’ve previously stated that as Superintendent of Schools, it was my duty (and the duty of every educator – including Assistant Deputy Ministers, and Deputy Ministers) to report the abuse of children to the RCMP and Child and Family Services.
I am intentionally telling this story from the perspective of facts that can be fully documented, not from the position of privilege as a former education leader in the territory. I do know that several educators in the school reported the abuse to the RCMP. However, for their own protection – and as this story plays out, you will understand why – their identities cannot be disclosed.
I reported what I discovered about the inappropriate use of restraints and seclusion on children at Jack Hulland Elementary School to the Yukon RCMP (Whitehorse) on November 19, 2021 just after lunch.
“Yukon RCMP spokesperson Const. Carlie McCann told CBC News in an email that police were made aware of “allegations” at 1 p.m. on Nov. 19 and “immediately” opened an investigation, but declined further comment.“
The RCMP News Release on November 24, 2021 outlines the purpose of the investigation – to ensure student safety and to conduct a criminal investigation into the allegations.
The RCMP would go on to interview close to 200 people in what would become a 22-month investigation – while victims waited, unable to obtain their school records from the Department of Education and unable to access the findings of the department’s own internal investigation into the allegations.
It’s notable that on February 14, 2022, the RCMP released a statement in which they revealed a teacher at JHE had used force on a child, yet no criminal charges were laid.
On November 1, 2022, an RCMP News Release states that the investigators are continuing to look for new witnesses. They state in this release that they notified the Jack Hulland School Community on October 24, 2022.
This was a regular pattern with all information releases regarding the investigation. The Jack Hulland School Community and the Department of Education received advance notice of all news releases. Meanwhile, the victims (the majority were, of course, no longer connected to Jack Hulland Elementary School) and the complainants were left to monitor the RCMP website for information. Numerous requests were made to the RCMP to include the families of victims in the advance notifications, but the RCMP refused this request, stating that it was the role of Victim Services to notify victims about RCMP updates.
Again on January 25, 2023, the RCMP released a news update, stating that they had conducted over 150 interviews, and that they were still working on the investigation.
The Jack Hulland Elementary School community was updated by means of a letter distributed through the school’s communication channels on Thursday, January 19, 2023.
The promised April 2023 update was released on May 3, 2023. The RCMP stated that a number of new witnesses had come forward in January, 2023.
“…the assigned officers have interviewed or spoken with approximately 200 students, former students, parents, teachers, retired teachers, school support staff and board of education employees.“
The most recent update from the RCMP was on September 13, 2023. At that time, the RCMP announced they had completed the investigation and they were preparing their reports.
“The Whitehorse RCMP General Investigation Section (GIS) interviewed or spoke with 190 individuals and reviewed over 600 reports obtained from the school, the Yukon Department of Education, parents and caregivers.“
We continue to wait for further information from the RCMP. Keep in mind that after ensuring the safety of children, their purpose was to conduct a criminal investigation into the allegations.
What does the Criminal Code of Canada say about the physical abuse of children?
We will examine Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada in our next instalment.
Whitehorse RCMP investigating use of holds, isolation spaces at Jack Hulland Elementary School https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/jack-hulland-whitehorse-rcmp-investigation-1.6259830
Whitehorse RCMP Investigating School Allegations (November 24, 2021) https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/news/2021/whitehorse-rcmp-investigating-school-allegations
Use of Force Investigation Results in No Criminal Charges (February 14, 2022) https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/news/2022/use-force-investigation-school-results-criminal-charges
Update on the Jack Hulland School Investigation (January 25, 2023) https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/news/2023/update-the-jack-hulland-elementary-school-investigation
Update on the Jack Hulland School Investigation (May 3, 2023) https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/news/2023/update-the-jack-hulland-elementary-school-investigation-0
Get support for victims of child crime (Yukon) https://yukon.ca/en/legal-and-social-supports/supports-victims-crime/get-support-child-victims-crime#children-and-youth-victims-of-crime
The Kids of Jack Hulland Elementary
- Timeline Part 1 (Class Action Lawsuit)
- Timeline Part 2 (RCMP)
- Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada
- The Statement of Claim
- The Yukon Child and Youth Advocate’s Office
- The [Missing] Kids of Jack Hulland Elementary
- Week 1 Summary
- The Federal NDP Attempt to Repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada (Bill C-273)
- UPDATE: Bill C-273
- Senator Stan Kutcher and Bill S-251 to Repeal Section 43
- Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action 6
- The Rights of Children
- The Public Education System in the Yukon
- Ronald Morrish – Discipline that Harms
- Ethical Practice and the Teaching Profession
- Recap and FAQ
- Childhood Trauma – ACES
- The long-term impact of physical abuse of children
- What we know about corporal punishment of children