Clearview issues directive after ‘critical’ Calgary case

Clearview School Division has acted in response to a near-tragic incident involving a Calgary student and a lanyard.

Clearview School Division has acted on an Alberta Education directive in response to a near-tragic incident involving a Calgary student and a lanyard.

Clearview superintendent John Bailey said all school-issued lanyards would be replaced with the “breakaway” types that pull apart when stressed. Students in all Clearview schools have been “encouraged” to trade in all non-compliant lanyards for the safer replacements.

The mid-December incident at the Bearspaw School in Calgary sent a Grade 3 boy to a Calgary hospital in critical condition when he was accidentally choked by the lanyard in a washroom stall. A lanyard is a strap usually worn around the neck that’s used to hold identification badges, keys, whistles, computer thumb-drives and other such items.

Bailey said the use of non-breakaway lanyards has been strongly discouraged. He said students bringing lanyards from home that aren’t of the quick-release variety will be asked not to wear them around their neck, but rather to put them in a pocket.

“Student safety is of the utmost concern,” Bailey said.

In a pre-Christmas memo to Stettler-area parents, William E. Hay Composite High School principal Norbert Baharally said the school would be “reinforcing the message to our students that it is absolutely unacceptable to bring, or have, lanyards in our school that are not the breakaway ones.”

Baharally’s letter is posted on the William E. Hay website.

“We are asking students to return all lanyards that were issued by our school to their TAs or into the office as soon as possible,” Baharally said in the memo. “Keeping our school safe for all students is a priority for us and we will take the steps necessary to achieve this.”