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Critical Response to students

School District 23 is preparing to enact its School Critical Incidents Response Plan in the wake of Thursday night's tragedy in Peachland.

The single vehicle crash claimed the lives of two graduates of Mount Boucherie Secondary School, Mike Baxter, 20 and Delanie Smith, 17.

Another former student, Ryan Urlacher, 19 and a current student Brianna Frolich, 16, are in serious condition in Kelowna General Hospital.

SD23 Superintendent, Hugh Gloster, says the response team will work with existing staff at Mount Boucherie to coordinate a response plan.

"Those within the school are typically the ones that know these students and impacts," says Gloster.

"At the school itself you are communicating to all those members of that school community all the factual information and talking to them about what supports are available - establishing a drop-in centre and having the proper people designated to respond in support of students, staff and others who may have been impacted at the school."

Gloster says the other element to any tragedy like this is identifying students already known to be vulnerable.

"The students closest to the victims are people you want to reach out to and make sure they are well looked after," says Gloster.

"Traumatic events can be triggers. That's one of the pieces that can be a traumatic stimuli for a vulnerable student that is already dealing with other issus."

With Thursday's tragedy coming on the heals of a Professional Development Day and the weekend, Gloster says students will be connecting either through social media or in person.

"We know a fair amount of emotion is going to be part of this weekend for a lot of these kids as they come to grips with having just found out this news."

Meantime, Gloster says he has had no indication that Thursday's incident was tied to grad kidnapping events held earlier in the week.

"Having spoken with a variety of staff and people who are somewhat connected, they are not aware of that," adds Gloster.

"Of course, it was the night before Professional Day so, to students, that's a night off. It's not as though they were expecting to be attending school the following day. Whether or not there was a function on or something, I don't know.



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