Magnet school handles grief after two families lose parents

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Two car accidents within just 12 hours left two different families without a parent. Combined, those parents had seven children, four of whom attend the same magnet school in Jonesboro.

It's not just the Jonesboro School District that's helping those families, classmates are too.

"When somebody hurts within your family, everyone hurts," Jonesboro's Visual and Performing Arts Principal, Dale Case told Region 8 News.

Case said they're finding out how true that is after tragedy struck four of their students from two separate families.

"We take what we do very personally too and we want to make sure we're everything we can be to those babies when they're with us," Case said.

VPA's school counselor Linda Whiteside explained once the school learn a student's family member has passed, they follow district policy to handle the situation.

Whiteside said the first step is confirming the death, then notifying first the student's teachers and then their classmates.

Whiteside said after informing the student's peers, they visit their home to see how they can help out.

"Each family has different needs so we wanted to see how we could help as a school with the family," Whiteside said.

It wasn't just teachers and administrators who stepped up to help. Whiteside told Region 8 News that after they told the students' classmates about what happened, they wanted to help too.

"They took it upon themselves to collect so many goodies for this family," Whiteside said. "Teddy bears, toys, they went about collecting snacks, they had cards. I'm telling you, it was amazing the amount of items that they came up with."

A kindness and thoughtfulness Principal Case said he's glad is shown district wide in more than just teachers and administrators.

"That was tremendous to see that it was student led and that they wanted to do something to show those kids that had the loss to show that they were thinking about them and that they loved them," Case said.

The district also lets families know of counseling and services in the area to help them out. Whiteside said the most important thing to do if you know someone who has suffered a loss is to listen.

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