Wawasee High School is a community gripped by tragedy after the loss of their classmate, Kalee Skaggs. Skaggs died early Tuesday after being struck by a train near Cromwell. (See related story)
As students mourn, the school is providing counseling services to aide students in the grieving process.
“Guidance and staff spoke with students yesterday and again this morning,” says WHS Assistant Principal Mike Schmidt. “We want them to know that we have resources available to them, that it’s ok to grieve, and not to judge if others need to take the time to grieve.”
Schmidt also ensures that administrators are in the halls between classes, looking for the “red flags” in students and giving them not only the space and time essential to the grieving process, but also to listen to the students.
In addition to efforts by the staff, the school’s guidance counselors have teamed up with the school’s three mental health professionals, local churches and the Bowen Center to allow students to speak with someone during lunches and throughout the day.
While the school provides counseling during the school day, the grieving doesn’t end there. Heather, who asked that her last name not be used, is a parent of a student at Wawasee High School and says parents need to reach out beyond the halls of the school.
“I’ve had the conversation with my student and I have made it known that suicide is not the solution,” says Heather. “It’s a conversation every parent should have with their child, not just in the wake of a tragedy. We need to do what we can at home.”
Heather also understands that parents aren’t always a child’s best friend, but believes that the school is doing the best they can for the students. “Parents seem to be trying to be their child’s best friend when they need a parent.”
She also said there have been two attempts and one suicide in less than 24 hours, and adds, “Our community is entirely too small for there to be this many.”
The school continues to provide counseling services to the students during school hours, and reminds students that at any time, it’s ok to talk.