SRHS counselors help students cope with classmate's death - - The News for South Mississippi

SRHS counselors help students cope with classmate's death


As Moss Point police continue their investigation into a deadly school fight, counselors with Singing River Health System have been at Magnolia Middle School helping students deal with the death of their classmate.

The death of 12-year-old Lorel Malone left hundreds of staff members and students inside Magnolia Middle School emotionally shocked. Behavioral Health Services Vice President David Burkart and three therapists stepped in to help.

"They were just destroyed and lost. You could see the sadness and confusion on their faces and body language," Burkart said about the staff and students.

The counselors helping were from Singing River Health System. They became a listening ear for several days, encouraging the students to express every feeling and ask questions.

"They asked, should they think about the good times they had, because if they continue to think about the good times, they are going to miss them even more. They asked what is it like for parents and for the siblings, and how long it will take them to get over this because they just don't understand that situation."

Counselor Burkart points out the questions, pain, and sadness are all normal feelings, but he urged the children and also adults not to act out on their grief.

"We want to make sure they know it was a very unfortunate event. It was okay to feel whatever they were feeling, but don't let it turn in to anger. And don't let it turn in to anything where they feel like they need to do something or any type of retaliation," Burkart said.

As Magnolia Middle School continues to cope with loss, the counselors want the students and staff to know there are community members supporting them during this tough time.

"Life is tougher these days, and I think people are really beginning to realize sometimes everybody needs a little help."

The funeral arrangements have been set for 12-year-old Lorel Malone. Visitation starts at noon and the funeral is at 1 p.m. Saturday at Church on the Rock in Pascagoula. The church is currently raising money to help offset funeral costs for the family. Anyone interested in helping can go to any Merchants and Marine Bank branch to donate money.

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