Students at Boylan High School are mourning the loss of freshmen Kari Lotko. Lotko died in an auto accident on Spring Creek and Highcrest Road Thursday night while heading to soccer practice.
It was just days ago that Forreston freshmen Jared Mullarkey died in a car crash while heading to a JV basketball game. Social Worker Cheryl McArdle says it's important for students to express themselves emotionally during this time and to support their classmates.
It's also recommended for students to take a step back and do less. But one of the hardest things they'll have to do is head back to class. McArdle says facing an empty chair in a classroom helps students understand the depth of loss and gives them a chance to feel sad and miss that person.
While talking about death can be painful it's an important part of the healing process. McArdle says research shows it takes at least one year and could even take two or three years for adolescents to be able to move on. In some cases a person never gets over the loss but learns to handle it in a new way. It’s also common for adolescents to suffer from post traumatic stress and anger.
One of the best ways for adolescents to let out grief is to attend both the visitation and funeral services.