By Heidi Zemach for Seward City News -
Seward students and larger community are mourning the loss of a Seward High School freshman who died Tuesday.
Members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Schools’ crisis team, SeaView Community Services, Seward Minister’s Association, and district counselors met with students at Seward High School and Seward Middle School, individually and in groups throughout the day Wednesday. They will also be available over the next few days and weeks to help the students cope with the death of their peer.
“Although the death of our Seward High School student is intensely felt by the students, school staff and residents of this community, the rest of the district also grieves the loss of this young man. All of KPBSD wishes the boy’s family the very best during this trying time,” said KPBSD Superintendent Steve Atwater.
The school district’s protocol for when a student or staff person dies, which was initiated in Seward on Tuesday evening for the school day on Wednesday included an all-staff meeting in the early morning and extra district support onsite, including a director and counselors, an assessment of local community resources, and debriefing, said Pegge Erkeneff, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Schools public relations specialist. Information about any memorial services forthcoming will be given to the students once it has been made available, and will be released to attend services with parental permission.
Seaview Community Services has provided a crisis intervention number for those students and parents needing access to resources and support outside of our school day. Their hotline is 224- 3027.
The State of Alaska’s “Careline” is also open for people in crisis, or people who are grieving, who are concerned about someone else, or who just need to talk. The toll-free, confidential number is 877-266-HELP (4357), and is available 24-7, all year. Or, people can text 4help to 839863 most evenings – 3-11 p.m. Tues.-Sat.
Parents were invited to contact the school directly if they felt that their child was in need of additional assistance. SHS Principal Trevan Walker’s office, phone, and email are always open to parents, students, and the larger school community: 224-9077 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.