Young girl's classmates make cards for grieving family - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Young girl's classmates make cards for grieving family

By Laura Forbes - bio | emailTwitter
Posted by Sarah Harlan - email

VANDERBURGH CO., IN (WFIE) - It was the first day back to school for classmates of Alyssa Lynch, 8.

EVSC officials had a team of counselors ready to help, but teachers kept the day as normal as possible.

At Cynthia Heights Elementary School, students made homemade cards for the family of Alyssa Lynch.

They show her as an angel, and said she's in the Lord's hands.

"Students need to feel like they can do something," EVSC Crisis Coordinator Angela South said.

It's one of the ways the staff helps students deal with the loss of a classmate.

EVSC officials put together a crisis team when they learned about the fatal fire Saturday morning.

The team is  made up of seven counselors and four psychologists

"We try to over-staff in case there are a lot of students that are upset, then if they don't need them all we let them go back to their school, but we'd rather have too much help than not enough," South said. "If students are really upset, they are sent to the media center where there are crisis counselors on hand."

South said in this case, few students have needed the extra help, even in the class where an empty chair marks Alyssa's absence.

"A lot of them don't realize how permanent it is at this age, so they're not as upset as an older kid might be," South said.

South also credits the teachers for being able to handle most of it on their own.

"It's been calmer here than at any other crisis I've seen," South said. "These teachers are well-trained, and they've done a great job with the kids."

South said they'll be there for the teachers, too.

Although they often feel the need to be strong, they also feel the impact of a little girl gone too soon.

The other victim, Caleb, 5, was not enrolled in school.

School officials said counselors will be on hand as long as they're needed.

©2010 WFIE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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