March 29, 2022
Dear South Orange & Maplewood School District Community:
It is with deep regret that we inform you about a recent loss to our school community. On Tuesday, March 29, we received confirmation of the death of a Columbia High School (CHS) student. Out of respect for the family, currently, we are unable to share additional details of the student’s death. However, we understand that this loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions not only for our students, but also for members of our staff and parent community.
The South Orange & Maplewood School District and CHS have a Crisis Intervention Team made up of professionals trained to help with the needs of students, parents, and school personnel at difficult times such as this. The crisis team at CHS has been mobilized to respond to this tragic event. Throughout the remainder of this week and the coming weeks, there will be counselors available for any student who may need or want help or any type of assistance surrounding this loss.
As this tragedy will affect all of us in different ways, we have included some information below that may be useful to you in helping your child at home as well as resources to help the community in general. We are saddened by the loss to our school community and will make every effort to help you and your child as you need. We encourage you, as parents, to also feel free to use our resources.
- SOMSD Mental Health Resources: https://bit.ly/SOMSDMHResource
- Talking to children about death: an age-by-age guide: https://health.choc.org/talking-to-children-about-death-an-age-by-age-guide/
- Helping Children Cope With Grief: https://childmind.org/guide/helping-children-cope-with-grief/
- Grief Support & Resources: https://bit.ly/3iHVc1b
We ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time and keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor, Superintendent of Schools
Cc: Frank Sanchez, Principal, Columbia High School