November 20, 2013

Important letter to Artesian Drive P.S. families

Dear Artesian Drive Families,

It is with great sadness that I write this letter to inform you of the death of one of our kindergarten students, who died in a tragic accident this morning. At this time, we do not have permission from the student’s family to share any further information.

This tragedy has brought great sadness to the students and staff at Artesian Drive Public School. We spoke to students today to provide them with the news. Members of the Peel board’s Critical Incident Response Team have been at the school since this morning and have been providing counselling to students and staff. The counsellors will remain at the school as long as they are needed.

The student’s death is felt by everyone at the school. Here are some ways you can help your child deal with the grief and reactions:

  • Acknowledge the loss and the emotional upset.
  • Be available to your child. If you don't know the right thing to say, just listen. Acknowledge that we don't always have answers to why these things happen.
  • Provide a reassuring environment in which your child feels comfortable expressing his or her thoughts and feelings.
  • Encourage your child to experience the loss in the way that's most comfortable for him or her. Some children are open about their feelings, while others prefer not to talk about them or may only want to talk to their peers.
  • Share an experience you might have had with bereavement and what helped you cope.
  • Encourage your child to follow normal routines as much as possible. Offer him or her practical support—like helping with homework and catching up on assignments.
  • Acknowledge that there's no time limit on grieving.

Be aware of signs that your child may need additional support to deal with this loss. Warning signs include: prolonged physical/psychological distress (lack of appetite, sudden weight gain, persistent aches and pains, continued panic, anxiety, apathy or depression), becoming violent towards self or others, or decline in school performance. Please contact me if you would like to speak with a school social worker or psychologist.
 
I know you join with us as we express our condolences to the student’s family. Our flag has been lowered to half-mast in the student’s memory. As always, please contact me at the school if you have questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Margaret Wise-Hellmuth

Principal
Artesian Drive Public School

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