Harlem High School offers help for grieving students

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MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WIFR) – Three days after the death of their fellow student, Harlem High School students are in mourning, learning how to cope.

Laci Matthews died around 10:30 Saturday night when her car left the road on Route 20 near Main Street and struck a tree.

Matthews was on the Girls’ basketball team at Harlem High School. The school had service dogs and support on hand for her teammates during practice on Monday. School officials also announced the loss Tuesday morning and that support was available. This is the second death of a classmate in the past two months at Harlem High School.

Principal Terrell Yarbrough says they’re doing their best to let students know there is always help available for anyone who needs it.

"You would hate to not do anything. You would hate for kids, staff, to not know - 1, that it happened, you know and then 2, what supports are available. And there's no blueprint to this - there's no okay, manual: when a student dies... here's what you should do,” says Principal Yarbrough.

Yarbrough says he’s grateful for the way the community has reached out in support of students and the school. He says Laci will be remembered as a sweet girl who was able to be a friend to anyone.

There were two other students in the car at the time of the crash. They had minor injuries but are still recovering and have yet to return to school. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with burial and funeral arrangements.