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MONTREAL, JANUARY 19, 2010 - The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) community will be doing its part to assist the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

“The English Montreal School Board, as part of our world community, has been deeply affected by the enormity of the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti,” said EMSB Acting Director General Mario Tirelli in a message to schools and centres.  “Some families from our EMSB school community who have relatives in Haiti have been impacted by the gravity of this disaster. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
“As a school board where family is our focus, and as a character community, we pledge to support Haiti and our staff and students’ families here in whatever way we can.”
The EMSB administration is urging schools and centres to engage students emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. “ It is difficult to understand and accept that there are events which cannot be controlled or predicted and which are not easily fixed, resolved, prevented, or even understood,”  stated EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini.  “As fellow human beings, we all wish to be involved in something positive and constructive to alleviate our sense of helplessness.”

In this regard students and centres are being encouraged to engage their entire community – staff, students and parents – in fundraising activities with a view to sending donations to support victims in Haiti. Organizations identified in particular are  the Canadian Red Cross (, The Humanitarian Coalition:  CARE, OXFAM Canada, Quebec and Save the Children ( and  UNICEF (

Many individuals within the school community  have already volunteered or contributed monetarily to assist in any disaster relief efforts.  EMSB spiritual community animators are currently in the process of organizing various activities at the school level.

“Many of us have spent hours witnessing this disaster on television, radio or internet and thus can be considered secondary victims and, as such, can experience trauma/stress reactions,” said Ms. Mancini. “It is important to understand that, following a traumatic event, even if it happened to someone else, it is normal to feel it personally.  Although each person reacts differently, according to his/her own personality and life experiences, there is a wide range of normal feelings and reactions that are generated by these horrific events.  Those who are particularly vulnerable because of previous experiences of trauma or loss may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“It is important for principals to be aware of the common reactions to trauma/stress and to alert their staff and community as a whole, in order to help them to cope with the experience as well as to understand and aid those individuals who may be more deeply affected.”


Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213