|EMSB EXTENDS ITS SYMPATHY TO VICTIMS OF EARTHQUAKE IN ITALY|
MONTREAL, AUGUST 30, 2016 - As a new academic year begins, the English Montreal School Board wishes to sensitize its stakeholders to the recent earthquake in central Italy, expressing its deepest sympathies to the families affected by the devastation.
“Once again we are made aware that nature has a distinct way of reminding us of the unpredictability and uncontrollable devastation which it can, at times, leash upon our human population,” EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini and Director General Ann Marie Matheson state in a message sent out to school principals.
On Wednesday, August 24, a powerful earthquake laid waste to many, towns and villages in central Italy, leaving a death toll of at least 300 with hundreds injured and thousands homeless. Aftershocks continue to hinder rescue efforts. The number of deaths, missing persons and injuries continue to rise as bodies are found under the rubble.
“Although we, at the EMSB, are miles away from this disaster, we are brought together in this global world by instant media coverage of this disaster, and our hearts reach out to those families who are suffering from this natural devastation,” the message reads. “Many of our schools have parents and students who are from Italy, and who may be personally affected by this earthquake. Some of our schools have a higher concentration of students and families from the area affected and might require more attention.”
Following an inexplicable traumatic event of this nature, even if it happened to those far away, each person is affected in a personal way. “Although each person reacts differently, according to his/her personality and life experiences, there is a wide range of normal feelings and reactions that are generated by these horrific events,” the message continues. “Those who are particularly vulnerable because of previous traumatic experiences may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.”
EMSB Director of Student Services Lew Lewis emphasizes that it is important for principals to be aware of the common reactions to trauma/stress and to alert their staff and community in order to help them to cope with the experience in their unique manner.
If schools wish to organize fundraising activities donations may be made to the Canadian Red Cross, indicating Earthquake in Italy.
Michael J. Cohen