Mattawan Consolidated SchoolsStart Date: 05/31/2022
As a Mattawan school parent, I was informed on May 30 of a 5th grader's passing after a long battle with cancer. The student was in my daughter's class and so I had some connections to the student and others in the school. I reached out by email to the principal, social worker, and teacher, offering our services. I was immediately emailed back, followed by text messages to arrange. Sunny and I arrived to the school an hour before students to meet with the 20 member county-wide crisis response team (Van Buren ISD), and were warmly received (we had previously met some of the Van Buren ISD personnel as well). Since I and Sunny are already known to the school, we were trusted to "do our thing".
After an all-school staff meeting, we positioned ourselves in the 5th grade hallway and welcomed students as they entered. We then joined the school social worker and a Van Buren ISD crisis responder in the classroom of the child. Sunny selected (as he typically does) his place and we sat with several kids who were upset, despondent, or triggered by the classmate's death. I provided my phone number to the response team ahead of time, which they used to request me in other 5th grade classrooms. We visited three other classrooms before taking a break and then going to the 4th grade wing to visit the classroom of the deceased student's sister. We then revisited the 5th grade wing and spoke with the deceased student's teacher who has been upset by a few other unrelated situations (e.g., accidental lockdown triggered days after the Texas school shooting last week) and needed some support. We then spent another 45 minutes with this class before wrapping up our time at the school. By this point (noon) it appeared the students were entering the recovery stage.
Simultaneous to all this, our contact info was shared with the high school social workers who then reached out to support a few students who were impacted by a former student's death by suicide over the holiday weekend. After a break, we sent to the high school and were immediately ushered back to a private space where a student was waiting. We spent two hours here, with two additional students coming it to be comforted by Sunny.Agency: Mattawan Consolidated Schools
Angie Moe and Sunny