Ecole Centrale closed due to vandals
"We are all upset here," said Shawna MacInnis, who lives in Winneway, QC with her partner and three children. "We went to Ottawa last weekend and came back to find our school destroyed. My son is very sad."
Winneway is 3 hours north east of North Bay, ON. It is located on Long Point First Nation territory, one of 9 Algonquin First Nation communities in Quebec. Long Point FN have been renting Ecole Centrale, which is 15mins. away off reserve, for 4 years while their new school is being built. The school was attended by over 50 children from Winneway.
The school is now closed for clean up and repairs. The school expects to be operational by September 2016. That means that dozens of students will not be able to complete their school year. Currently, there is no other school available to take Ecole Centrale students from Winneway.
Parents of Ecole Central students rely on school hours in order to work outside of the home. There are few options for parents but to stop working and stay at home with their children, forgoing income. The closing of the school has interrupted the lives and education of over 50 children in Winneway. The physical damage to the school is estimated to be over $20,000.
So far the police have one non-Indigenous suspect in custody. The person will face charges of bulglary, mischief, and theft.
Photo credit: Mel Pichette