School counselors help classmates of Sidney Randall cope

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT)- The death of fourteen-year-old Sidney Randall has left many of her classmates saddened by her passing.

"Emotions range from anger to sadness to questions about why this kind of thing can happen," said Walnut Ridge Middle School Counselor Randy Johnson.

After Monday's confirmation of Sidney's death, Johnson said they've been handling the situation the best way they can.

"Our job is to try and make the day as normal as possible, keep them in a routine and then just be there if they have a question," said Johnson.

Preparations were made ahead of time as they anticipated a difficult day for many of the students.

"Yesterday we brought in some extra counselors," said Johnson. "The elementary counselor came over, the high school counselor and then a small group of counselors come in from one of the local agencies."

However, the help and support didn't stop there.

"Our teachers stepped up and did a wonderful job yesterday just being available and helping to meet some of those needs to the students," said Johnson.

When parents have a child lose a friend, it's important to understand that all children grieve in different ways and to be there when they're ready to talk.

"Ask things like what are you feeling? What questions do you have right now? Are you ready to talk," said Johnson. "Kind of give them that chance to come to you but be there, be close enough without invading their space."

Johnson said a good way to express feelings isn't always done verbally.

"I asked students to just write," said Johnson. "If you're not ready to talk, write down what your questions are, what you're thinking and what you would liked to say to Sidney."

As students continue to grieve in the next coming days, Johnson said he's certain they will help each other in this difficult time.

"I think our students have done a good job at pulling together and who to give that hug to and who to support," said Johnson.

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