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School mourns death of kindergartener, grief counselors on hand

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) – Grief counselors are on hand at J.E.B Stuart Elementary School in Northside to help students and staff cope with a tragic loss.
On Monday, a Stuart kindergarten student drowned in Lake Anna.

Lousia County Sheriff’s deputies said 6-year-old Asa Gayle slipped on rocks at the lake and fell into the water.  Gayle was fishing with her grandfather at the time.

Parents and staff at J.E.B. Stuart said many in the tight-knit community are struggling with the loss.  A team of behavioral specialist from Richmond Public Schools will be available to students and staff all week long.

Specialist Karri O’Connell said it is important to allow children to express exactly how they feel during these kinds of situations. Talking with them, having them color or draw, or even making a card to reveal how they are feeling are all proven methods to help children express with their emotions, O’Connell said.

Robert Scott, whose son is a Stuart fourth grader, said he already spoke to his son about what happened and plans to continue that dialogue after school.

“My heart goes out to her [Gayle's] family for their tragic loss, and J.E.B Stuart for their loss too,” Scott said.

O’Connell said parents should try to keep things as normal as possible for their children during difficult times.  The healing process, O’Connell said, takes more than just a few days for some children.

Earlier reports on this story are below:

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