South Range providing counselors after student’s death in fire

South Range School District sign


LISBON, Ohio (WYTV) – Students, teachers and staff in the South Range Schools are dealing with a difficult loss after a fourth-grade student was killed in a house fire Monday morning in Youngstown.

In situations like these, South Range Schools have what they call a crisis intervention plan. Different staff members have different roles, but administrators said the biggest goal is to make sure young students have someone who will listen.

The principal and guidance counselor gathered students to talk after hearing the news.

“Just to let them know that there had been an accident with one of our South Range families and if they saw that teachers and staff were upset today, they would understand why,” South Range Elementary principal Steve Matos said.

“And it certainly does stir up any kind of past losses. I have talked with lots of children about losing a pet, losing a grandparent. Some of them, unfortunately, have lost parents as well. So it stirs up all of those emotions,” South Range guidance counselor Kim Hvizdos said.

South Range Superintendent Dennis Dunham sent out a voice mail to all parents, saying that a 4th-grader had passed away in a house fire. They have not confirmed the identity of the student.

“Many of the parents will handle this at home, on their own time and in the comfort of their home. And I am sure they will do a great job of it. But for those parents that feel comfortable bringing their kids here, we welcome that,” Dunham said.

The school is making grief counselors available for both parents and students.

Hvizdos said losses like these can be very difficult for young children to process, and parents play an important role.

“We are a small community and we really are like a large family. So we want to be here to help the students and the families through this time, and the teachers,” she said.

South Range officials will have counselors available at the K-12 complex at 7 a.m. Tuesday, providing counseling for students, staff and parents.

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