Wednesday afternoon, Superintendent Randall Booker alerted families to somber news in the following letter:
It is with heavy sadness that I write to you this afternoon. On Friday afternoon, we learned that a PUSD high school student died accidentally.
Out of respect for her family’s privacy, we are not disclosing her name.
Upon learning this tragic news, District/PHS/MHS/PMS administrators, counselors, psychologists, and support staff met along side with district nurses and the Wellness Center counselors and interns to organize support services and crisis response for students, staff, and families as we all arrived onto campus this week. It is our understanding that the news of this loss has reached many students and families through dialogue on social media.
Wellness Center and school site counselors are on site at the secondary schools this week to help facilitate extensive individual and small group grief counseling. Our support staff have proactively reached out to individual students for whom there was any concern voiced by peers, staff, or parents, as well as to those students whom we know were particularly connected to this student or vulnerable for other reasons. Additionally, counselors have reached out directly to the parents/guardians of students whom have been identified as needing extra support. Our support services team will continue in the weeks and months ahead to provide grief and counseling services to affected students and will actively reach out to anyone for whom there is concern.
As parents, you are the most important members of our students’ support network. During the weeks and months ahead, you can help support their ability to cope with this difficult time by being available to discuss their feelings and reactions, and modeling effective and healthy coping skills. Adolescents should be allowed to express their feelings about death and told that it is normal to feel grief, as well as other emotions ranging from fear to guilt, to anger, and confusion. We have attached several resources at the bottom of this message to help you provide support and talk to your students as they move through the grieving process.
Please let us know if there is anything that school or district staff can do to assist you or your students in coping with this death by contacting your school counselor or admin.
Randall Booker, Superintendent
The Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) Wellness Center is available for students to access on an as-needed basis. Additionally, there are a number of community resources that are available to support students, parents and other community members if necessary. Such resources include:
– (800) 309-2131 – Crisis Support Services (24/7)
– (800) 843-5200 – Youth Crisis Line
– (510) 893-5444 – Parental Stress
– Crisis Text Line: Text BAY to 741741
– When Grief Hits Close to Home: Tips for Caregivers – National Association of School Psychologists
– Coalition to Support Grieving Students – National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement
– Childhood Traumatic Grief: Information for Parents and Caregivers – National Child Traumatic Stress Network