Education

After Three Student Deaths, 'Traumatic Loss' Speaker Scheduled at Ridge High School

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The Performing Arts Center at Ridge High School, 268 S. Finley Ave., Basking Ridge Credits: By Walter Pardo
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BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Following the third loss of a teenage student in the Bernards Township school system within a year's time, the public is invited at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 9 to hear a speaker talk about coping with traumatic loss and raising healthy kids.

George Scott Ed. S., M.F.T, and Statewide Resource Coordinator for the Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth, will be coming to the Ridge High School's Performing Arts Center for the Thursday session. There is no admission fee. "Mr. Scott made himself available to help our school community in light of our most recent loss," Schools Superintendent Nick Markarian said in an email to parents this week.

The presentation is for parents only, Markarian said in his email.

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It was only less than a year ago that the district announced the death of Ridge junior Martha Moye, 17, in late March 2016. The death of Ridge sophomore Kyra O'Dwyer stunned the community in December.

On Feb. 28, an email from William Annin Middle School Principal Karen Hudock informed parents, "It is with great sadness that we inform you that Gage Dobson, an eighth-grader at William Annin Middle School, passed away this afternoon."

"We have been affected by loss this school year more than any community should," Hudock added in her email.

Thursday presentation will later be on school website

Scott's presentation be recorded and the school district later will make the evening’s presentation available via the Bernards Township school website for those parents who are interested but unable to attend, Markarian said.

Markarian again informed parents that one of the district’s goals for this year has been to focus on social and emotional issues.

"Two products of our efforts are business cards that we have designed and reproduced to give to students, and a crisis prevention section on our district website," he said. "We certainly hope that families and students will take advantage of our school staff such as our counseling departments and our Student Assistance Counselors if they are in crisis."

The cards provided to students include additional contact information that may be valuable in scenarios outside of the regular school day, he said. The school district also will be enlarging the image for use as posters.

The crisis prevention section of the school website is "a work in progress," Markarian said. Here is that webpage as it now stands.

Additional programming will be scheduled, the superintendent said. 

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