Information from our counselor, Mrs. Willis...
Dear RRES Parents/Guardians,
It is with deep sadness that we inform you about the recent loss our beloved librarian, Mrs. Karen King. On Thursday, November 22, 2018, Mrs. King’s life was taken after being struck by a vehicle while visiting her daughter for Thanksgiving in Denver, Colorado. Her husband, Judge Alan King, and daughter, Kendall King, were also victims of this horrific event, but thankfully are recovering at a hospital in Denver. This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire school, especially our students.
Hoover City Schools has a HEART Team, which is a crisis intervention team made up of professional counselors and social workers trained to help with the needs of students, parents, and school personnel during difficult times such as this. The HEART Team and I will be available for any student who may need or want help or any type of assistance surrounding this loss. We encourage you, as parents, to also feel free to use our resources.
For some students this will be their first time having to deal with death on a personal level. Therefore, it is important for you to understand that children view death differently than adults and may display behaviors such as the following:
- Cling closely to adults
- Display regressive behaviors
- Appear not to be affected
- Think about it privately
- Ask a lot of questions
- Appear frightened
- Appear agitated and angry
- Appear sad and withdrawn
- Display difficulty sleeping
- Stomach aches and/or headaches
We suggest that you make an extra effort to listen to your child during this time. According to experts, It is important that you deal honestly and directly with any questions that your child may ask about the situation. Referring to death as passing away may result in confusion, and it is appropriate that you use the word “death” in your discussions. Should you have difficulty approaching this issue or if you would like additional information about talking to your child about death, please look at the links I have provided below.
Some other suggestions that parents may find useful in helping their child:
- Be a good listener. Listen carefully for any misconceptions or distortions your child may have about the situation.
- Provide physical closeness. Spend extra time with your child. Talk and offer reassurance.
- Encourage your child to ask questions and to discuss his/her feelings.
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Mrs. King and will make every effort to help you and your child as you need. Please do not hesitate to contact the school if we can be of additional assistance to you and/or your child during this difficult time.
Rocky Ridge School Counselor
What to expect at school:
Each of the classroom teachers will have this script to use with their class if needed. We as a staff are all experiencing the disbelief and feelings of grief as well and may be searching for the right words to say, so hopefully this will help those teachers that may be unsure. After researching childhood grief and obtaining advice from the National Association of School Psychologist, USC National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, the Amelia Center, the Dougy Foundation, and the US Department of Education I have edited this script to make sure it is delivered in the way advised by these organizations to include the facts and opportunities to seek help if needed. Teachers know their students best and have the freedom to adjust and edit parts of the script below to make it appropriate for their class.
We received some very sad news over the Thanksgiving break. Our librarian, Mrs. King, was out of town visiting her daughter for the holiday and was hit by a car while crossing the road with her family. Unfortunately, Mrs. King was killed by the injuries caused by the car. Her husband and daughter were also injured but are still alive and are recovering at the hospital in Denver, Colorado.
*Facts are important to dispel any rumors and confusion.
We will all miss Mrs. King and know that this news is very difficult for all of us to accept and that we will need to support each other during the grieving process. *empathy
I understand that many of you may be upset, confused, and have questions about Mrs. King’s death. I will try to answer any questions that I can. If you would like, we will take some extra time this morning to talk about what has happened.*empathy
At times like this, it is okay to have many different feelings, including sadness, anger, and disbelief. It is okay to cry. Together, we can talk about whatever you may be feeling or want to talk about. If I can not answer your questions, or you would like to talk to someone privately, we have some extra counselors here today in the theater to assist any students who may want or need to talk with someone about how they are feeling. I want you to know that all of the adults in the building are here to help you in any way that we can. *Resources available
I will provide you with additional information as it becomes available. *honesty and openness
NOTE TO TEACHERS: Check to see how students are doing – does anyone have any questions – does anyone need some time to talk with a counselor – if so, please send them to the theater with one of the passes provided.
During their library time tomorrow, one of the HEART Team members will also be available to read the book, I MISS YOU by Pat Thomas. After reading the book, students will have the opportunity to write a short letter, draw a picture, or write down some memories to help with the grieving process.