The Education Service Center for Region 12 has helped students and staff in several school districts cope with the loss of 16 of their own since Dec. 30.
Crisis Response Leader at Region 12 Jeni Janek said they serve 12 counties with 86 school districts.
"It's not uncommon within a school year to have losses and yet when you are looking at a two-month window of time with that many situations, that is not normal," Janek said.
The larger number of situations they have responded to recently are associated with students and staff deaths.
“We’ve had many fatalities in our region and when you see that, a young person or a teacher has been from their campus or district has been lost, it affects that campus and that district," Janek said.
Recently, Janek had to respond to a crisis closer to home in West last month when Jacob Bates died.
“Because it was personal, it was hard to watch them grieving in addition to that," Janek said.
On Monday, additional counselors and the Region 12 staff went to the Valley Mills Independent School District to help the district in the wake of the deaths of three girls who attended the school district.
Jaylyn Murphree,8, Brianna Hallmark, 9, and 13-year-old Rachael Hallmark died after the van they were traveling in crashed into a pickup truck on Monday morning.
"The district really wanted to take extra care given that is a very unusual situation. We looked logistically at how to do that. How to have parent communication, how to wait until an appropriate time to share that loss information with the students, how to support the teachers because they were experiencing that as well," Janek said.
The students at the elementary school alone are coping with the loss of classmates for the second time just recently.
"We always carefully start with the factors involved and the people who are impacted. When you are talking about young children in the second or third grade and they are learning of double fatality after a single fatality within less than two months," Janek said.
Region 12 counselors are no longer at the district but Superintendent Mike Kelly said counselors at Valley Mills ISD remain on campuses helping students.
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