November 29th, 2018
It is with great sorrow and with a heavy heart that we share sad news with you about another member of our school family, Adrian Chafino, one of our 3rd grade students, has passed on the afternoon of November 28th. Adrian was an important part of our school family and he will be missed. Adrian’s family gave us permission to share this information and expressed their appreciation for the kind thoughts, words, and gestures for them during this very difficult time. Memorial arrangements are pending.
The Holyoke Elementary School staff was notified after school on Wednesday and the student’s grade level peers were notified by 8:30 am Thursday morning. Mrs. Kropp, our elementary counselor, along with Mrs. Powell, the Holyoke Jr./Sr. High School counselor, were present when the students in grades 3rd-6th grade were notified of the news and to support them as they processed the information. Additional support staff consisting of area school counselors, BOCES team members, various clergy within the Holyoke community and victims advocates were in the elementary school today to help support any needs that students or staff had. These same individuals along with additional supports will be in Holyoke Elementary School again on Friday and as needed the rest of next week.
Death affects us all differently and can be a difficult conversation to have with children. Often, children have discussions among themselves on the playground or on the bus and unfortunately don’t always have accurate information and needed support from adults. We encourage you to spend some time with your child to talk with them about Adrian, to reassure them and to answer any questions that they might have.
We encourage the following guidelines:
Respond to comments by acknowledging the death and feelings (happy memories, sad for loss)
Be simple and straightforward. Discuss death in developmentally appropriate terms for children.
Use words such as “death,” “die,” or “dying” in your conversations and avoid euphemisms such as “they went away,” “they are sleeping,” and “departed”. Such euphemisms are abstract and may be confusing, especially for younger children.
Let children know that death is not contagious. Although all human beings will die at some point, death is not something that can be “caught” and it is unusual for children to die.
Discuss how to be a good friend when anyone experiences a loss, i.e. sending cards, kind words.
Maintain routines and schedules.
Remind children that adults are the best go-to people to answer questions. Identify who those people are.
Be ready to answer the same questions over and over as this is how children will process information.
If children ask questions or speculate about details of the death:
Do not go into details about Adrian’s death - it is OK to share that at this point we do not know details.
Let children guide the discussion and keep answers developmentally appropriate - most questions can be satisfied with simple answers.
Remind children to be respectful of Adrian’s family - do not share rumors or information that is not true or could be hurtful to the family.
Make sure that children are not listening to adult conversations that can be scary or confusing.
Children are resilient and we expect that with consistency in home and school routine, contact with friends and supportive adults, and supportive conversation as needed that they will feel safe and part of a caring, supportive community. If your child demonstrates signs of distress please do not hesitate to call us for ideas or support. You can call your child’s teachers, school administrators, or school counselor.
Kathleen Kropp, Elementary Counselor 970-854-3411 x140 firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrea Kammer, Elementary Principal 970-854-3411 x114 email@example.com
Angela Powell, HS Counselor 970-854-2284 x154 firstname.lastname@example.org
Centennial Mental Health Center 970-854-2114
Pastor Jeremiah Krieger 970-854-2452
Pastor Paul Burner 970-854-2433
Pastor Gary Rahe 970-854-2615
Father Jerry Rohr 970-854-2762
Safe to Tell Hotline safe2tellco.org 1-877-542-7233