School system offers grief counseling to students

GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – In just one night, Greenbrier County Schools lost five students to a deadly fire.

“You know, we were all devastated,” said superintendent Jeffrey Bryant. “It just shakes you to your core to think that five children have lost their lives in a senseless tragedy.”

As staff members handle their own emotions, the board knew it needed to address the students who knew the victims as well.

“They need to be heard and they need to be able to talk through this and there needs to be just really open, honest and frank conversations about, unfortunately, loss of life is what we all have to deal with. There’s honesty but then there’s honesty with empathy. That’s the mission.”

The schools offer counseling to any student needing to talk about the loss, but parents should also be there for their child.

“[Pay attention] if they become withdrawn or very quiet. [If they] change their daily routines, be aware of that.”

Rainelle Medical Center says parents should be ready for questions and know that it’s okay to not have all the answers. Let your child know its okay to feel their emotions. If they need additional help, don’t be afraid to reach out.

“They can contact my office. They can contact Frankford Elementary School. Please do so immediately if you see that children have changed their daily habits or patterns.”

Multiple students that died in the fire attended Frankford Elementary School.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.