NEWS

Peel school board takes steps to prevent student tragedies

08/29/2012 06:22 EDT | Updated 10/29/2012 05:12 EDT
The Peel District School Board is taking steps to try to prevent its students from taking their own lives.

When classes resume next week, students will be shown a new video that calls on them and their teachers to stand up for each other to help prevent suicides.

Tony Pontes, the board’s director of education, said that the people working in the education system spend a lot of time with the students in their school. And they may be able to see signs of oncoming trouble.

"We have children with us for six hours a day, five days a week and so we can be instrumental in supporting mild forms of stress, anxiety and we can also be instrumental in identifying those students and referring them to medical practitioners who may be able to help," Pontes told CBC News in an interview.

Pontes said the video being shown to students may spur them to reach out to others who may be in need of help, or to seek that help themselves.

The overall goal is "to raise awareness, to encourage staff and students to be more aware of those around us and to encourage people to talk about it," said Pontes.

The actions the board is taking follow an exceptionally difficult year in Peel Region, in which three students at the same Brampton high school took their own lives within a matter of months.

Those deaths occurred in the same year as a murder-suicide that involved two other students at a Mississauga high school.

MORE:cbcNews