On April 17th, in partnership with our Together We’re Better Mental Health Capacity Building Program, St. Paul Education Regional Division No.1 sponsored an evening session for our community led by Dr. Jody Carrington. As the lead organizer of this event, I feel it is important to address something that transpired that evening.
In her presentation, Dr. Carrington shared a fictional story around building relationships with youth. In this story, she talked about a teenage girl wanting to go camping with her drug dealer boyfriend. Dr. Carrington chose Saddle Lake as the campground for her story. I have heard Dr. Carrington share this story in previous presentations and she has never used the Saddle Lake community name before. While the message was intended to be positive, I acknowledge that the story reinforces a negative stereotype and it should not have been used. I am deeply sorry for this.
I am fortunate to work in a school division that takes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action very seriously. I believe that true reconciliation includes respectfully addressing stereotyping (whether intentional or not, obvious or subtle) that is directed at our First Nations people or communities. It is my hope, that as a community, we will all take the opportunity to respond appropriately when faced with these experiences, whether it involves a First Nations community or any other group or individual. We know that there is still much work to be done.
As a school division, we are extremely proud to serve students and their families from Saddle Lake and our other neighboring First Nation communities. Our goal in sharing the details of the incident is to be fully open and transparent. Again, we accept responsibility for this action and we are sorry.
Our concerns have been shared with Dr. Carrington; it was never her intention to be disrespectful or hurtful. While we regret Dr. Carrington’s choice of words, we see her as a valued educational partner in our work here in St. Paul Education. Please see her attached apology below.
My superintendent, Glen Brodziak, can be reached at his office at (780) 645-3323 or on his cell (780) 227-0340.
Again, I offer my sincerest apologies.
Division Counselling Coordinator
Mental Health Capacity Building Program Manager
Dr. Carrington Apology Letter
First, I'd like to thank you so very much for contacting the school division following my talk on Wednesday evening in St. Paul. I was heartbroken when the school division brought your concerns regarding my statements about your community to my attention. I am so, so grateful that you were open to receiving an apology from me. I know sometimes words cannot be strong enough to repair; but please know that I am so deeply sorry for referring to your community in a negative manner. I have spoke in and visited Saddle Lake and felt so inspired by the people there. My humour was not intended to be harmful, and I now understand how upsetting it must have been. I hope that you can accept my apology. Please know that I would love to call you directly and discuss this further with you, if you think that would be helpful.
Dr. Jody Carrington
Registered Clinical Psychologist