WHITELAND — The Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation is mourning the passing of a Whiteland Community High School student following medical emergency at school today.
According to the Johnson County Coroner, a 15-year-old female student was pulled from a pool at the high school.
In a letter sent to parents, the district said:
It is with great sadness that we inform you that a WCHS student has passed away following a medical emergency at the high school this morning. At this time school and emergency officials are trying to determine exactly what happened.
We will provide an update as soon as possible.
Students were dismissed from the school at 1 p.m.
Vlademer has a nephew who is a student at Whiteland Community.
He tells WRTV he knows the pain of losing someone so young, because his 16-year-old son Michael passed away five years ago.
“If they have other children, that they give them a hug every day. Because it’s the day the ones that leave you, leave this life and you never see again, you wished you had,” he said. “Be strong for ‘em. Be strong. Do things that you would know they would’ve wanted to do. Feel as if, they’re making a difference even though their friend has passed.”
In a follow up email, the school said that the student drowned in the pool during gym class but the specific cause and circumstances of the student's death are not yet known and a "thorough investigation will take place."
We are writing to follow up on the tragic accident that occurred today at Whiteland Community High School that resulted in a drowning in the pool during physical education class. Despite the efforts of our staff and emergency responders, the student has passed away. The specific cause and circumstances surrounding this tragedy are not yet known, and a thorough investigation will take place.
Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with Alaina’s family and friends during this incredibly difficult time. We understand that this news is profoundly upsetting for our entire school community, and we are here to support our students, staff, and families as we grieve together.
The school canceled classes for Wednesday, May 17 and says staff will report to WCHS to plan for the students return on Thursday.
School will return on Thursday and resources will be available to students in need.
The school also offered a list of resources and tips.
Tips to help your child cope with grief:
- Be honest and give accurate information appropriate to your student’s ability to understand.
- Provide extra affection and reassurance. Death may bring up fears about their own safety or that of a loved one.
- Listen. When we show we are interested in their thoughts, youth have a lot to say about tragedies and grief.
- Encourage open expression of emotion through art, poetry, and conversation.
- Share your own feelings without overburdening your children. It is okay for children to know that you are experiencing and surviving your own grief.
- Continue daily routines for your children as much as possible.
- Be patient. Children may take longer than adults to resolve grief. Their processing of it may happen in stages. They may need to ask the same questions over and over.
Local Grief Counseling Groups
Brooke’s Place - Grief Support Resources
Common Sense Media - Talking to Your Kids about Difficult Topics
American Psychological Association - How to To Children About Difficult News
PBS.org - Helping Children with Tragic Events in the News
Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation has several mental health resources available to students. Parents should reach out to their child’s school counselor to learn more about how they can receive additional, specific support.