As a case manager for the Salvation Army's Harbour Light program on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, Jeffry Banks has seen death.
In the neighbourhood where he works, it's an unfortunate, yet common reality.
But the Port Coquitlam resident and father never expected death would come so close to home.
On Monday, that's exactly what happened when his daughter and five of her Grade 2 classmates discovered the body of a man beside a creek just outside school boundaries at Irvine Elementary.
Banks asked The NOW not to use his daughter's name for the story.
It was about 10 o'clock that morning when Banks got a call no parent ever wants to get.
As a father of a daughter with ADHD, it wasn't unusual to hear from the school that she'd had a bad day.
But this was different. The man on the other end of the line identified himself as being with the RCMP.
"As soon as he said that, I said 'What's gone on?'" Banks told The NOW.
"I instantly went into fear, something bad has happened."
Instead, he was told his daughter and a group of students had come across a body, they were talking to counsellors and, as a father, he was asked if he could come down to the school to take part.
Banks left work immediately. On his way back to Port Coquitlam, he wondered exactly what state his daughter was in and how the situation was being handled.
But all those concerns were quickly alleviated as he walked through the school doors.
The kids involved, including his daughter, were busy colouring and playing on the computer.
Everyone was calm. One of the investigating officers, who actually attended the school when she was a child, showed the kids pictures of her when she roamed the halls.
As one of the first parents on site, Banks said the whole situation was handled perfectly.
"The school was really accommodating them," he said.
"So whatever they were experiencing out there, no one was poking or prodding. It was really well done."
He said the line of questioning aimed at the children was tasteful, and as a concerned parent, he was impressed.
However, the children did see something many adults haven't dealt with ever in their lives.
Banks described what his daughter told him she had seen.
"They said that he had fallen, his head was in the river," he said.
As she put it, the dead man's hands were out in front of him as if he were "doing a Superman."
Banks interprets the description as if the victim had his hands out as if he had fallen.
He said what first drew the kids' attention was a bike and backpack abandoned along a fence that straddles the school boundary.
He estimated the body was about seven metres down a path.
The children never got close to the body or crossed the fence.
"I count my blessings because he was face down in the water, so these kids aren't going to be haunted by the look of death," Banks said.
Instead, they quickly ran to a teacher.
"The kids did exactly what you hope your kids would do, they'd seen something that was out of place and they ran to their teacher."
The students were promptly ushered into the school and police were called.
As of Thursday, the identity of the dead man had not been released, nor had a cause of death, but Coquitlam RCMP said the man is not related to the school in any way.
Police don't believe the man, who is estimated to be in his late 30s, met with foul play.
In the coming days, Banks said he and his daughter's mom would continue to talk to their child about the ordeal whenever feelings are brought up.
The family also expects to take advantage of the help offered to them by Victim Services.
"It's important the kids know it wasn't their fault and they did the right thing by telling a grownup," he said.
"If that's what she's getting in school, she's in the right school and the right setting."
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