A total of 15 counselors visited several classes of sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students to provide information on the shooting and some steps to help the grieving process, according to WCSD Coordinator of School Counseling Katherine Loudon.
“We have set up a place where students are able to write messages or notes to her and her family and also to talk to one another about what happened,” Loudon said. “We also provided them a private space for small group talks as well.”
Letters were sent home to students’ parents, written in English and Spanish, and calls were also made to parents to inform them and prepare them for their child’s possible grieving, Loudon said.
“First we try to explain and honor the death or loss, then give students a venue to ask questions and to talk about how they feel. Then we try to prepare the parents, because it is not over once they leave the school,” Loudon said.
Pati Falk, a member of the WCSD counseling team, said it was important to remind the parents to let their children talk to them about the incident. She said parents should pay close attention to any signs of deep grieving and to continue comforting and talking to them.
Dilworth administration personnel also reached out to vertical schools, including Sparks High School, which Dilworth students funnel into, to help them through their grief.
“There are a lot of people grieving and hurting because of the connections among these schools,” she said. “Grieving is a process not an event. It is difficult for students to learn and for teachers to teach when the process is taking place.”