Community reacts to sudden passing of 10-year-old friend
A range of supports are in place to help students, parents and staff dealing with grief over the sudden passing of Dexter Druar, 10, of Redcliff, on Jan. 18.
He was a keen hockey player involved with Redcliff Minor Hockey.
“By all accounts just a great kid, full of life, big smiles,” said Bruce Johnson, president, who called it “a situation that you just cannot prepare for.”
Victim services provided advice last Friday night on the best way to proceed, he explained. In most cases parents had already broken the news to their children by Saturday morning when management of the teams directly affected met to put grief counsellors in place.
“You just have to take the first step. There just is no right or wrong,” said Johnson, indicating it is hard to know how the children are coping with the news.
“Children deal with things differently than adults and the one message we sent to all the kids is that there is no expiration date on grief and the support will be there for them as long as they need it,” said Johnson. “As one of the grief counsellors stated, the grief will come in waves.”
Druar was a student at Margaret Wooding School. “Dexter will be remembered as a good friend and dedicated student. His passion for sports was obvious, as was the respect he had from his fellow classmates. School staff often talked about how Dexter always seemed to have a twinkle in his eye. Dexter was a wonderful student and friend who will be very much missed by all of us at Margaret Wooding School,” said Craig Corsie, principal.
Prairie Rose School Division began working with a psychology team over the weekend to design a response, said Reagan Weeks, assistant superintendent.
“Right now our hearts are breaking. We’ve got staff members who are working their way through this process,” said Weeks.
At each school site this past Monday there were family liaison workers, said Weeks. A social worker spoke to students in each classroom at all of the schools because in a smaller community such as Redcliff the news has impacted everyone.
“Community supports were established in consultation with Alberta Health Services and the Town of Redcliff,” said Weeks.
This would help to provide strategies for parents who are dealing with their own children impacted by the news, said Weeks. Letters were also being given to students on Monday to take home to parents outlining strategies for talking to children when working through a tragedy such as this.
“Everyone processes grief in a little bit of a different way and we will ensure that we have support available for however that looks for each individual child,” said Weeks. “We will ensure that our team is available to wrap around them and provide the support that they need.”