McAualife Middle School

Start Date: 2021-08-05

Description: We were called to the Mc Aualife Middle School to comfort and support the best friends and best friends parents of a 13 year old male student that had attempted suicide and was taken off life support. 5 of his very closest friends came to the "Wellness Room" where counselors were available to talk with the boys. There was also another student who came and a sister of one of the boys. The parents were counseled in a separate room. For the most part Robby and I were in the room with the students. The 5 boys and sat on the floor and drew tribute on a banner for the deceased student and talked with counselors as they drew and petted Robby. The set up of the room was perfect for Robby to interact with the students and have me be in the background holding the leash. I sat in a chair against the wall and extended my leash so Robby was able to walk amongst the boys and sit with them on the floor without me in their face or listening to their conversations. The staff also interacted with Robby at the briefing prior to the students and parents arrival and at one point we walked over to the room where the parent were and interacted with them briefly before returning to the students room. One student who sat alone at a table wasn't interested in interacting with Robby and that student was also taken to a separate room for individual counseling early in the visit. The sister of one boy sat near me and interacted with Robby from time to time but she did not participate in the drawing or speaking with the counselors, she was there primarily for moral support for her brother (she was a little older). These boys were a very good close knit group of boys and it was obvious they were struggling with the loss of their close friend. The school staff could not be more supportive of their students and their needs. We (HOPE) is asked to come back on Tuesday when the student body will be there to register for school and a letter notifying all of the parents in the school about the tragedy and suggestions for talking with their children about the incident and offering counseling to anyone who wishes it on registration day.

Agency: Orange County Dept. of Education Crisis Response Network
Teams: None