CHATHAM, NJ - Chatham School District parents and staff members were alerted to check for an email message from the superintendent on Friday morning, which announced the passing of Chatham fourth-grade student Tessa Handerhan.

Chatham Superintendent Michael LaSusa reported that Handerhan died on Thursday night.

The Chatham Township Fire Department had been urging people to contribute to a go-fund-me page it was promoting on its facebook page, noting that on Dec. 17, Handerhan had gone into "respiratory failure and cardiac arrest" and was "unconscious in the Pediatric ICU since that day." The go-fund-me page was to help with mounting medical expenses.

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The message from Chatham Superintendent Michael LaSusa is below:

Dear Parents and Staff Members,

It is with profound sadness that I need to report that one of our fourth-grade students, Tessa Handerhan, passed away last night.  Our prayers and thoughts are with the Handerhan family during this time.  The school district will have counseling and mental health staff available for all students and staff in need of support at Lafayette Avenue School and Washington Avenue School today.  We will assess our needs and continue to provide support as needed.  Should your child need assistance, please contact your child's school.  Your child's principal may communicate additional information to you later today.


Mike LaSusa