June 24, 2014 - 2:51 PM
VERNON - A North Okanagan teacher allegedly murdered by her boyfriend will be remembered for her contagious smile, kindness and compassion.
Linda Ross, a teacher in school district 22’s Alternate Learning Program, was found dead at the Trinity Valley Road home she shared with her partner, Howard Everett, who now faces a second degree murder charge. Police believe the attack on Ross was part of an attempted murder suicide; Everett was rushed to hospital with a self-inflicted gun shot wound.
Bruce Weitzel, principal of the Alternate Learning Program, worked with Ross for 16 years in the Vernon school district.
“It hit me like a ton of bricks,” Weitzel says with a tremour. “It kicks you in the guts when you lose such an incredible human being to such a terrible crime.”
Ross supported students who couldn’t attend regular secondary school for a variety of social, behavioural and emotional reasons. She opened up to her students and earned their trust, Weitzel says.
“She believed that with a little effort, kindness and support, kids could exceed their expectations of themselves,” Weitzel says. “She had a very personal approach. The kids knew she was there for them every day.”
Aside from teaching, her other passion was horses.
“She enjoyed that as her escape,” Weitzel says.
Students were at the Open Door learning centre Tuesday writing and drawing tributes for their beloved teacher. The school district launched a crisis response to help staff and students cope with the loss.
“I think it’s easy to say hundreds of students and perhaps thousands have graduated because of Linda’s success and the way she touched people’s lives,” Weitzel says.
According to Const. Kris Clark, Ross and Everett had known each other for only a brief period of time. Everett remains in Kelowna General Hospital and police continue to investigate.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014