DANVILLE — Counselors, administrators and ministers offered help to students and parents following the death the day after Thanksgiving of a Danville seventh-grader.
They opened the Danville Middle School from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday. Acting Superintendent Ricki Boyle said they would be there as long as people needed them. "The ministerium is here," she said of the Danville-Riverside Area Ministerium Association.
Students were off school Monday for Thanksgiving vacation.
Boyle said a few students were visiting the school early on. Throughout the day, 12 people went to the school.
"We want to be able to talk to parents as well as children," she said.
She said extra staff will be available today to support students at the middle school and the high school. Students return to classes today.
"If any student wants to go to guidance, the student will be picked up and brought to guidance," she said. "We don't want them to be alone in expressing their concern."
Boyle said assistance will be available throughout the week. "Geisinger is helping to support us as well," she said.
Boyle said the First Baptist Church of Danville held a gathering Sunday night that was well-attended.
"We are working with other people and working with the community," she said following this tragic loss.
Middle school Interim Principal David Snover prepared a letter, dated Nov. 30, for parents and guardians informing them of the death Nov. 29.
"A sudden loss like this can have an effect on students. For that reason, we hope that you will listen to your son or daughter as well as discuss with them their feelings and reactions to this tragedy. A young person's death is painful to understand and your adolescent may experience signs of stress," he wrote.
Signs of stress can include difficulty sleeping, changes in sleeping, inability to concentrate, absent-mindedness, irritability, increased aggression, thoughts about death or dying, isolation, withdrawing from normal activities and friends, guilt, fearfulness and worries, use of alcohol or drugs and risk-taking behaviors such as riding a bike carelessly, using firearms and dares to participate in dangerous behaviors.
Snover wrote they are especially concerned with risk-taking behaviors and strongly recommend parents and guardians remove guns from homes where young people are experiencing grief and related stress. He urged parents to remove adolescent's access to medications, drugs or alcohol.