Harrison School student death, Harrison, Montana

Start Date: 01/17/2020


A nine-year-old boy had been killed by a semi when his father's truck was stopped by the side of the road the night before. We were asked to come to this rural school, which only has 84 students, K-12. Yuki and I arrived at 9:15 and interacted with a few teachers, aides, and the superintendent. An announcement was made over the P.A. that Yuki had arrived and about 25 students came to the reception area and interacted with Yuki. Several were crying, hugging each other, and hugging and petting Yuki. Several staff members and students said they remembered Yuki from previous visits. We had been there at least three times before, in similar situations. One student even remembered me, which was a surprise. We expect them to recognize our dogs sometimes, but not us. We went to several of the elementary classrooms, where students were mostly doing craft projects or playing board games, for distraction. They were all glad to see Yuki. Apparently students were flexible regarding their schedules that day, and they were allowed to go home with permission from a parent. Students came into the gym to play with basketballs and volleyballs, and we hung around there to visit with anyone who was interested. Starting at 11:30, the elementary students went to the lunch, and the older students went to lunch at about noon. We stayed out of the lunchroom, and visited with students and staff who were in the halls. One older student told me he thought we had left and someone was bringing his two ranch dogs to the school for the students. I said we would try to stay out of those dogs' way, and a staff person asked him to hang with the older students, while we visited with the younger students. After lunch, we went to the 2nd grade class, where the young boy belonged, and the 5 students were sharing memories of the student who had been killed. After sitting with them for a short while, we left at about 12:45. We also made contacts with the Madison County Sheriff's Department Chaplains, who were experiencing the HOPE dogs for the first time. We have no teams in Madison County so the Chaplain was not aware of us. It was a good experience, but a sad one. We have been called there way too many times for such a small school.

Agency: Harrison School District