Physical Abuse of Students at All Saints School


A former student at All Saints School, Shirley Bear, recalled being abused by the vice principal. Shirley's brother had recently run away from the school, and she was accused of saying in Cree that she was also going to run away if her brother did not return. Mr. Mayo, the vice principal, believed her to be lying and so he hit her on the back, arms, and legs. Bear described this as "the worst strapping of [her] whole life." She was not beaten because Mr. Mayo wanted her to speak Cree, but because he believed she was lying when she said she could not speak the language. Mr. Mayo is quoted by Shirley Bear as saying, "Don't be stupid, all Indians speak Cree". Shirley recalls having feelings of confusion because she constantly saw children being beater for speaking in Cree, and when she admitted to not being able to speak the language, she was beaten for only being able to speak English. She also recalled how under Mr. Mayo, bullying and fighting amongst students was common. Staff did not protect students from the authorities, nor did they protect them from other students.

These incidents at All Saints School reflect a pattern of abuse that was endemic to the Residential School System. For more information see, 'Physical Abuse in Residential Schools,' and 'Sexual Abuse in Residential Schools.'