TCDSB approves recommendations made by inquiry into shooting death of students


Following the shooting deaths of two teen boys near an Etobicoke high school last October, the Toronto Catholic District School Board has received and approved all 33 recommendations made by an inquiry into the murders.

But the mother of one of the slain teens says there’s one key recommendation that wasn’t included.

The report, commissioned after the murders of Zaid Athir Youssef, 17, and Michael Menjivar, 15, was presented to the public at a board of trustees meeting on Thursday.

The boys were found with gunshot wounds in an area behind apartment buildings near Islington Avenue and Dixon Road on Oct. 6.

A 17-year-old is facing six charges, including attempted murder and weapons offences.

Youssef was a student at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School while Menjivar attended James Cardinal McGuigan Catholic High School in North York.

The recommendations from the “Safe Schools Inquiry” includes calls to end a “don’t snitch” mentality among students, an increase to secondary school social worker staffing levels, developing an app allowing students to anonymously report safety concerns, and for TCDSB schools to support policies and programs that teach students responsible use of social media.

Police investigations concluded that the students were there to support a mutual friend who was having a conflict with another student from Don Bosco, which had escalated during the preceding weekend over social media.

Youssef’s mother, Jina Ryad Al-Hisn, advocated for metal detectors to be installed and random searches of students be carried out as ways to ensure school safety.

“(Metal detectors are) very, very important,” she told CityNews. “But I don’t know why they don’t accept it. Why, I don’t know. Maybe because it’s expensive.”

“If people have (a) gun in their jacket…cameras they cannot go through that,” she said. “If they have a knife in a book, no one can see it.”

Those measures were not included in the recommendations after the panel heard from Toronto police and student representatives. Both groups argued against metal detectors and random searches for “practical, social and legal reasons.”

The Catholic school board held eight sessions, including three public meetings across the city, for their inquiry.

You can read the full report, including all 33 recommendations below:

TCDSB Safe Schools Inquiry Report 2015 – Final Report

With files from Adrian Ghobrial

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