Grief counselors on hand after 4th-grade student's death - WNEM TV 5

Grief counselors on hand after 4th-grade student's death

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Students at Arthur Eddy Academy returned to school on Tuesday, after one of their peers – a fourth grade girl – died Saturday.

Doctors think she may have had bacterial meningitis.

Grief counselors were at the school to help kids deal with the loss.

Nancy Johnson is the supervisor for crisis intervention services at the Saginaw County Mental Health Authority.

"For kids at that age the whole idea of helping them to accept that death is part of what's experienced in life. But in addition to that, it's out of the norm. We don't expect a child to die,” Johnson said.

She said the first thing parents can do to help kids who are grieving is listen to them.

"We need to start where they're at. Let them express how they feel validate how they feel and be supportive,” Johnson said. “Even if we don't really understand where they're coming from because all children grieve in different ways."

Johnson said tragedy at Arthur Eddy is also difficult because of fears that the suspected meningitis could spread.

“This is really more complicated because you have a situation that might be potentially hazardous to the other students and staff and teachers and parents," Johnson said.

The school building has been cleaned thoroughly, it was one of the reason it was closed yesterday, so it should be safe for students to go back inside.

Johnson said parents at Arthur Eddy should realize that it might take a while for their kids to heal and understand why one of their fellow students is gone.

“It'll be an ongoing process that will evolve over time,” Johnson said.

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