Students banned
Lutselk'e students sent home after fatal party

by by Marty Brown
Northern News Services

NNSL (Feb 03/97) - Four students from Lutselk'e have been sent back home from Fort Smith for alcohol counselling and treatment.

Every year about 30 students from the Great Slave Lake community attend the Fort Smith high school. They are housed in two residences especially for them or are home-boarded.

Strict rules on the use of drugs and alcohol are enforced by the South Slave Divisional Education Council.

The policies are clear: drugs and alcohol are not permitted and any student caught with them will be sent home for counselling and treatment, said Steve Baker, chairman of the council.

"We are the guardians of the children. These rules have to be in place," said Baker, adding that both students and parents are aware of the rules.

The expulsions follow the death Lutselk'e student Rufus Rabesca was found dead after a party last month. Other students at the party were also discovered drunk after the party.

There were problems before the accident, according to Archie Catholique, Lutselk'e representative on the South Slave board. But he said officials are over reacting.

"I don't think the students had a problem. The blame was put on the students because the people who made the decisions didn't want to take responsibility," Catholique said.

People at the administrative level are not flexible enough, he said.

Catholique has planned a meeting in Lutselk'e for parents, the superintendent of education and staff and board members. Plans to send the students to Yellowknife are on the agenda.

In the meantime, some thought been given to pulling all Lutselk'e students in Fort Smith home, Catholique said.