- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 1, 2014

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) - Administrators at two Gadsden area schools say they’re helping students cope with the loss of three children who died in a small plane crash in Colorado.

Xander Barksdale, 8, and Kobe Barksdale, 11, attended Mitchell Elementary school, and Seth McDuffie, 14, was a student at Westbrook Christian School. The three were among five who died when a single-engine plane from Gadsden crashed into a reservoir in Ouray County Colorado.

Mitchell Principal Roger Wilkinson told the Gadsden Times (https://bit.ly/1mx3MLl ) that counselors from nearby elementary and middle schools and two pastors were on campus Monday helping students returning from spring break navigate the grieving process.

Wilkinson said it was good that schoolchildren were with their parents and on break when the crash happened, because it gave parents a chance to check on how their children were coping with the news. Wilkinson said he’s been thankful for the way the community has responded.

“This area is a very tight-knit community, always ready to step up in times of need,” he said. “There has been lots of support, and it has been much appreciated.”

Aside from talking to counselors and teachers, Westbrook administrator Cindy Greer said students are also using a prayer board to share feelings about their classmate. She said all athletic events and practices were canceled Tuesday so students could attend a memorial service for their classmates at a local church.


Information from: The Gadsden Times, https://www.gadsdentimes.com

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