Students at Bethel Elementary cope after child dies in house fire

Posted at 7:24 PM, Jan 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-16 23:32:31-05

It was an emotional morning at Bethel Elementary School as faculty had to break the news to their students that a fire killed one of their classmates.

Three children and one adult died, and one of the victims was a second grade boy at the school.

The principal says some students knew about the fire, and staff had to confirm the rumors.


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“We sat down with the children in a circle and had a very good conversation with them about what had happened and just let them talk," said principal, Eileen Kersmarki.

The school brought in extra counselors and psychiatrists to help the 17 classmates cope.

“It was very silent for a while, but then they started opening up and talking about the student… about what they liked about him, funny stories. They laughed and they cried. We had a really good conversation,” Kersmarki added.

Then, the students decided to write.

“They decided after about a half hour or forty minutes that they wanted to start writing about him. So they went back to their desks and they drew pictures and they wrote him letters. And then nobody said anything… they just put them on his desk," said Kersmarki.

The principal says the extra counselors will be there for the rest of this week and next week.