B.C. school closes after six year old First Nation boy dies in Port Alberni home

The Port Alberni school will be closed the rest of the week following the death of a six-year-old

A six-year-old Nuu-chah-nulth boy is being remembered by his big, beautiful smile.

The child, who had family connections in both Ahousaht and Hesquiaht First Nation communities, passed away on March 13 in a Port Alberni home.

The Port Alberni RCMP responded to a call on March 13 at about 9:30 a.m after receiving a report of a young child in medical distress at a Port Alberni residence.

The child was transported to hospital and did not survive.

The RCMP are investigating and said no further information will be released.

The BC Coroners Service has confirmed it is investigating a death in Port Alberni but that no other details are available.

Haahuupayak Elementary School, where the child was a student, will be closed for the remainder of the week.

An urgent school notice was sent out to parents and caregivers of Haahuupayak school saying “out of respect for the family who has lost a loved one, we will be closing the school leading into spring break (school closed [Wednesday] until Friday).”

The notice also said the student who died was part of the Haahuupayak family and that “our thoughts and prayers go out the the family in their time of need.”

The Haahuupayak principal will be at the school to address any questions or concerns parents or caregivers may have.

A statement issued by Haahuupayak school on March 14, says “the school is heartbroken to learn of the passing of one of its own students this week. It is no easy thing to lose one of our own. As a sign of respect to his family and to honour the grieving process for all his loved ones, including staff and students, the school will be closed for the remainder of the week leading into Spring Break. We extend our sincere condolences to the parents, family, friends and community members during this tragic time.”

The school said they will not be available for comment during this “deeply personal time.”

“We support the family in their request for privacy from the media and the general public, as they grieve the terrible loss of their child,” reads the statement.

A satement from the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) says they are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of a young Nuu-chah-nulth child.

“We are told that this young child had a big, beautiful smile, and that he touched many lives – his loss will deeply affect many,” reads the statement. “We support the family in their request for privacy from the media and the general public, as they grieve the loss of their loved one. We ask others to do the same.”

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