Flags at half mast at Hillview Elementary school, and all other Vernon School District facilities, Monday, May 31 in honour of the tragic discovery of the 215 children whose bodies were discovered at the Kamloops Residential School Friday, May 28. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)

Flags at half mast at Hillview Elementary school, and all other Vernon School District facilities, Monday, May 31 in honour of the tragic discovery of the 215 children whose bodies were discovered at the Kamloops Residential School Friday, May 28. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)

‘Burial grounds instead of playgrounds. Heartbreaking’: Vernon School District

Moment of silence, schools flying flags half mast, staff and students wearing orange in honour of Kamloops residential school tragedy

The discovery of the remains of 215 school children in Kamloops has left Canada’s school communities in mourning.

“Burial grounds instead of playgrounds,” said the Vernon School District in a statement. “Heartbreaking.”

To honour the lives of the residential school victims found Friday, May 28, schools across the Okanagan are remembering this week.

Along with flying all flags at half-mast, staff and students have been invited to wear orange.

The week began with a moment of silence and many are honouring the children in other ways.

Students from Hillview Elementary, for instance, tied 215 orange ribbons to their school’s fence.

“We must continue to learn about the history and ongoing impacts of colonialism, and recognize that we have a responsibility to personally and collectively answer the Truth and Reconciliation commission’s calls to action,” SD22’s statement reads.

“The district acknowledges the many staff, students, and families who are deeply and, in some cases, personally affected by this tragedy.”

Support is available through the Indian Residential School Survivors line at 1-800-721-0066, KUU-US Indigenous crisis line — available 24-7 (Youth Line 250-723-2040 and Adult Line 250-723-4050) and the 24-7 Residential School Crisis line at 1-866-925-4419.

READ MORE: Central Okanagan schools lower flags in honour of Kamloops residential school victims

READ MORE: Devastation over discovery at Kamloops residential school felt deeply throughout the Shuswap


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Hillview Elementary School students in Vernon tied 215 orange ribbons to the fence June 1 in honour of the tragic finding of 215 Indigenous children at a former Kamloops Residential School. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)