School district helps students cope with grief after student's shooting death

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Blytheville Public Schools administrators and community groups are working together to provide support for grieving students after a classmate was shot and killed.

Blytheville High School guidance counselor Kimberly Dean-Files said Ron Self, BPS Director of Safety and Security, notified the school counseling department Thursday, December 6, around 4 p.m. about the shooting death of 18-year-old student Miguel Estrada.

"At that time we organized our crisis teams, notified all the counselors in the district," she said. "Principal (Bobby) Ashley notified the staff by email."

Dean-Files said the district has an established plan ready to implement when tragic situations involving students occur, and the district relied on its ongoing partnership with groups outside the school system who can assist when needed.

"We called in area agencies that provide counseling services to our kids. We contacted the (Blytheville) Ministerial Alliance, and we contacted some community groups that work with our youth," she said. "We had a referral center set up where anyone could go. Our administrators did an excellent job going through the halls checking on the classrooms."

The day after the shooting students and teachers could go to individual or group counseling to express their feelings verbally or through writing.

"We just allow them to talk, what bothers them the most. They can't seem to believe that it's happened," Dean-Files said. "We're here for them whenever they need it."

A 16-year-old is facing a charge of first degree murder after police say he shot and killed Estrada Thursday afternoon.

The shooting happened in the 1100 block of Holly Street in a neighborhood minutes away from Blytheville High School.

Dean-Files said counselors are still available to students, even as the daily routine slowly returns to normal, and in their grief, students decided to reach out to their classmate's family.

"They are going to have a memorial service. The kids wanted to get together and do this for his family, which they're going to do later on in the week."

For information about the memorial service, call Blytheville High School at (870) 762-2772.

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