Community

North Salem Art Teacher Killed in Tuesday's Storm

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NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - The North Salem School District is grieving the loss of its middle school / high school art teacher Lauren Svendsen.

Svendsen died Tuesday, May 15, when a tree fell on her car during the powerful storm in New Fairfield, Conn., according to school officials. Her son, age 3, was in the car when the tree fell but was not injured.

Superintendent Ken Freeston sent an email to families today, Wednesday, alerting the school community to the tragic news.

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"Our thoughts and prayers go out to her entire family at this time," Freeston said. "At times like this, emotions will range from sadness, to anger, to disbelief and each individual will be impacted in their own way."

North Salem Schools were closed on Wednesday because of numerous road closures and power outages in the area. The district will be bringing in a Regional Crisis Team on Thursday and Friday to provide extra counselors and staff at the school.

"Administration will meet with the crisis team early tomorrow morning and then we will convene an emergency faculty meeting before students arrive to discuss our response and potential student responses so we are consistent in our message of empathy and understanding," Freeston said." Counselors will be in all of Ms. Svendsen's classes to assist with student discussion and reactions."

Freeston encouraged families with concerns to contact the school for assistance and included links to websites parents could use while talking about death and grief with their children:

http://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/talking-to-children-about-violence-tips-for-parents-and-teachers

https://www.nctsn.org/sites/default/files/resources//helping_teens_with_traumatic_grief_caregivers.pdf

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