December 19, 2014
It is with profound sadness that I write this letter to the Berne-Knox-Westerlo School community.
Earlier this morning, police confirmed that one of our elementary students, Kenneth White, was found deceased near his home.
Our condolences and thoughts go out to the family and friends of our student.
A student death is a difficult and challenging situation that can generate a high level of anxiety and distress in some students. During this time, as the school community processes the tragic news and copes with grief, we will offer counseling and bereavement support services to all of our students and staff. A team of counselors, school psychologists and social workers at the elementary and secondary schools will provide support to any students or staff members in need throughout the upcoming days.
The district has also been in contact with local law enforcement to ensure that BKW is a safe environment for your children.
Your child may be affected by this tragedy even if he or she did not know the student. I encourage you to talk with your child about what has happened. Discussing thoughts and feelings about this situation is important in helping your child work through his or her grief.
You can click here for guidance from the Child Mind Institute on how to help children cope with frightening news. I hope that you find it useful.
At this time, very little is known about the circumstances of the student’s death. We encourage parents to emphasize to their children that there may be rumors or false information in a situation like this one, and if they want to talk about something they hear, they should talk to an adult.
This is a difficult time for all of us, but I know that our students, staff and community will draw together to work through this tragedy together.
Dr. Joseph L. Natale
Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District