John McDonald, Ticonderoga Central School superintendent, was talking about a proposed building project last week when he said, Theres a lot of discussion about the relationship between schools and their communities. We know we hold an important place in the community.
A few days later, he sadly had the opportunity to demonstrate the school districts commitment to our youth and town.
Philip Frazier, an 11-year-old Ticonderoga boy, died in a fire at his home Aug. 16. He was a fifth grade student at Ti Elementary School.
The death of a child is tough on a community. Children arent supposed to die especially in towns like Ticonderoga. And while adults struggle with such tragedies, children can be left afraid and confused.
McDonald, whose business is children, realized the implications of the tragedy immediately. Although school is closed for the summer and most faculty and staff are not working, McDonald responded.
That very afternoon McDonald contacted the school psychologist, guidance counselors and nurses. He asked them to make themselves available to any student coping with a friends death. He also sent a letter to every students parents making them aware of the services provided by the school district.
In lieu of the recent tragedy involving one of our elementary students, we would like to make you aware of ways in which the school can support you and your family, McDonald wrote. Our crisis team has met and we will be offering counseling services to any child or family who may need support. Until the beginning of the school year, we will have four counselors on call who would be willing to meet at school or visit your home.
The letter went on to tell parents how to contact the counselors. It also included information on helping children cope with tragedy.
Ticonderoga Central School District officials should be commended for their immediate and appropriate response.