A teacher who was shot in the face at a school in La Loche in 2016 says she’s disappointed the Saskatchewan ombudsman has determined she can’t be compensated for pain and suffering under government rules.
Charlene Klyne, a substitute teacher, lost all vision in her left eye and can only see dark shadows in her right eye. She has numerous pellets lodged in different spots from her jaw to her chest that can’t be removed by surgery.
Last year, she complained that workers’ compensation payments weren’t enough to cover her bills.
The provincial government asked ombudsman Mary McFadyen to review the case and she said Wednesday that Klyne has received all the support provided by government programs and workers’ compensation.
“Through no fault of her own, Ms. Klyne was badly injured at work in a horrific event. We looked at the government agencies within our jurisdiction and found they provided her the supports that were within their authority to provide,” McFadyen said in a release Wednesday.
“Those benefits did not include compensation for pain and suffering.”
Klyne, who hasn’t been able to work since the shooting, said she’s disappointed with the ombudsman’s review. She said the province hasn’t upheld its commitment to take care of the victims of the deadly school shooting.
“It is part of the government, and they are sweeping everything under the carpet – like I’ve said since this happened,” she said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “They just want us to go away and ignore the whole situation.”
A gunman opened fire at the La Loche high school in January 2016, killing a teacher and teacher’s aide, and wounding seven others. He also killed two brothers at a nearby home.
Following the shooting, the provincial government had committed to supporting the victims and the community.
“The offer to help was so pronounced,” said Buckley Belanger, an NDP MLA for Athabasca, which includes La Loche. “Fast forward two and a half years later and it is so discouraging to see what limited support they are affording a lot of the shooting victims.
“While this one is specific to Ms. Klyne, I’ve talked to a lot of the victims and a lot of them are very frustrated and angry and very disappointed.”
Belanger said the ombudsman had to work within a set of parameters, but the Saskatchewan government should have updated its legislation to address some of the concerns that came out of the shooting.
“You would think after a horrific event like a school shooting that the government would respond accordingly,” he said. “They never did.”
The province said in a statement that the ombudsman’s review showed Klyne received “all the entitled services and benefits under the Victims of Crime Act and the Workers’ Compensation Act.”
The government said they have increased addiction services, student counsellors and victim services to follow through on its commitment to help the community.
Klyne said she expected more from the government as a victim, but added that she’s not finished fighting.
“I’m working on getting a lawyer, getting more papers together that the lawyer requested and going from there,” she said.
In the meantime, Klyne’s son has set up a GoFundMe campaign to try to get some help for his mom.