Counselors Helping Joplin High School Students Grieve
The high school has taken extra measures to help students grieve after the loss of 2 students in just 1 day. Extra counselors were available to students yesterday and today at Irving Elementary and JHS and will continue to be as long as they are needed.
An outside counselor says dealing with such a big loss is always tragic but especially difficult during adolescence when emotions are amplified. Every student will grieve differently but there are certain things both peers and parents can do to help them make it through.
After tragedy at Joplin High School, parents are holding their children close, grieving alongside them.
“You hug them you tell them you love them and you just tell them that whatever you do every day in life makes a difference and will be your legacy so do something nice every single day,” says Gabriel Allen. His son was close friends with Spencer Nicodemus.
Students need support right now but local Licensed Professional Counselor Mark Liston says for parents, that might mean giving them some space.
“Be understanding, let them talk, let them get things out and maybe give a little advice or a little encouragement, but just more of an arm around or a support during this time, that’s the best thing that parents can do,” says Liston of JoMo counseling.
He says there’s not 1 specific thing anyone can say to help students cope but being present so that they don’t bottle up their emotions is key. The most important thing, students will need to lean on each other.
“Some of the students are going to look at others and be like you hardly knew him, there will be some negative feelings towards fellow students. I would encourage the students to go easy on that, be understanding that if you’re doing better great but just give some grace to the other students,” says Liston.
The district is also making sure teachers and counselors are available.
“We always talk about developing relationships and connections and building bridges with kids and these are the days that it shines and these are the days that you really rely on that,” says JHS Principal Brandon Eggleston.
And students will depend on it as they continue to grieve.
“You hear about it in other big cities or metropolitan areas, it doesn’t matter the size of the town or where it is, it can happen anywhere and we’re all sad”,” adds Allen.
Allen’s company G&S Graphix joined forces with students to make t-shirts in memory of Spencer Nicodemus. Every senior will get a free one and others can order one for $5. Proceeds will go to his family.
Liston adds keeping active and busy will help students cope and that many students will have trouble focusing in class for the time being. Principal Eggelston says education of course remains a priority but so does the students well being.