Pembroke Academy offers grief counseling after death of a student

Monitor staff
Published: 6/7/2018 5:40:26 PM

Days before graduation, Pembroke Academy officials are urging parents to seek help if their child is struggling to cope with the death of a student earlier this week.

The school district received confirmation that a student died Tuesday evening, Headmaster Paul Famulari said. Students were informed Wednesday morning during a morning assembly to recognize seniors for their achievements prior to graduation. The senior class and their parents were notified first, and the rest of the student body was informed afterward, according to Famulari. Teachers and staff were notified early Wednesday morning.

“The news shared with students today can trigger certain emotions or reactions which may prompt the need for trained grief counseling,” Famulari wrote in a letter to parents dated June 6. “What will be important at this time is to provide support to your son or daughter, and encourage them to seek help for themselves or others who need it.”

“If you feel the situation is urgent, or you feel your child may be at risk for harm, take your child to the nearest emergency room,” the letter continued. “With graduation and end of the school year upon us, this is an especially stressful time. Today’s news can only serve to compound that stress.”

Famulari said the death was “unexpected to us,” and declined to give the name or grade of the student.

“It was a difficult time,” Famulari said of the assembly, noting that school officials relied heavily upon its crisis response team to guide their actions.

Famulari said the school is doing “as well as can be expected” and that it is receiving support from other SAU 53 schools and volunteers.

“We’ve gotten a lot of good community support,” he said. “We’re blessed to have a lot of resources available to us.”

Famulari said counselors will be available to students through the end of the school year and into the summer if students express a need for the services.

The school’s graduation is June 9, and the last day of school is June 15.

Resources If you or someone you know is struggling with grief, the following resources are available: Riverbend Community Mental Health Center: 1-844-743-5748 Headrest in Lebanon: Teen Line: 1-800-639-6095 National Suicide Prevention: Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 Crisis Text Line: 741741 NAMI NH: 800-950-NAMI or a texting service when you text “NAMI” to 741741.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)

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