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Trustees hear allegations of ‘disgraceful’ trick on students

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LORD Selkirk School Division trustees go behind closed doors tonight to hear allegations Grade 8 students from Grand Marais were tricked into chewing on moose droppings while on a school canoe trip.

 The alleged incidents happened May 25 when about two dozen students from Walter Whyte School were on a two-day canoe trip accompanied by teachers and other adult chaperones.

 Some of the children later told their parents one of the adults had tricked two children into putting moose droppings in their mouths while other kids watched and laughed, after telling them it was a nutritious mixture of wild berries and grass.

 Angie Jonski said Monday her nephew was one of the victims, and one of her two nieces on the trip was also offered the droppings.

 "They all laughed — he ran to the river to wash his mouth out," Jonski said.

 Her niece later turned down the droppings, Jonski said, but her niece’s friend accepted. "She was told it’s nutritious, it’s berries and grass. She was chewing it, and it got stuck in her braces."

 Jonski said some parents have not allowed their kids to go back to school since the canoe trip.

 "The parents will be there tonight," she said.

 Lord Selkirk superintendent Scott Kwasnitza confirmed he has been conducting an investigation, but would not discuss any details of what he will tell the school board tonight.

 "We are investigating an incident. It’s a student and personnel (situation)," he said. "It was a field trip that involved the school, and there were staff along on the trip. It’s an annual event; it’s a canoe trip.

 "We will be involving the board," Kwasnitza said. "We’re trying to deal with it internally."

 Jonski said the children reported one group went hiking while the rest were at the camp. On the hike, an adult picked up fresh moose droppings and told the students the material would be used to play an unspecified joke on the kids who weren’t there.

 Jonski said the school is dismissing the incident as a poorly considered joke, and no one was supposed to reach the point of putting the material in his or her mouth. "If it was a joke gone bad, why would you offer it to a second kid?" she asked.

 A mother named Polly said her son was not directly affected, but she could tell he wasn’t his normal self after the trip. It was only this past Saturday that he told her what had happened, and she’s been hearing accounts from other parents all telling basically the same story.

 The kids were told not to tell about the incident, she said: "I’m really annoyed with that.

 "How utterly disgraceful — I’m embarrassed by the whole thing. If no action is taken, there’ll be a lot of upset parents," she said.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

 

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