LAS superintendent addresses student death, homecoming dance.

October 7, 2017

LAS superintendent addresses student death, homecoming dance.

Ludington Area School District Superintendent Jason Kennedy has issued a statement about Friday night’s tragic death of 16-year-old Henry MacDougall and tonight’s homecoming dance. See related story here.

Dear LASD Family and School Community,

It is with great sadness that we inform you that one of our students at Ludington High School passed away from injuries sustained in a car accident last evening. Henry MacDougall, a junior at LHS, was involved in a fatal accident involving a semi truck.

Although there is a lot of conversation through social media right now, we feel it is important to give you as much clear information and support as we can to help you work through this difficult and sad time. We know that Henry has impacted many lives in our school community. We want to let you know that despite the shock of this event, we here at LASD are prepared to support students, staff, and families. We care deeply about our students and their families; we are a school community.

We have made the decision to move forward with our Homecoming Dance tonight, October 7th, and have been coordinating with area counselors to provide support services to staff and students throughout the evening. Grief counselors will be present this evening to support our students and staff. We feel that now, more than ever, students need to lean on our strength and compassion as a school community. An important part of supporting our students is to provide some small sense of normalcy by proceeding with our Homecoming traditions. Throughout the dance we will provide a safe space for our kids to gather, to support one another, and to begin to process this loss. Again, ample staff will be present this evening to help us through the grieving process.

As we return to school on Monday, counselors from the ESD, all LASD buildings, and community agencies will be here to support individual students or small groups of students, as well as staff members, most affected by Henry’s death. We will be working with other buildings, especially the middle school, where Henry’s sister is in the 7th grade, to also offer additional counseling services.

At a time like this, we recognize that a loss of one of our own can make it difficult to continue on. However, please know that we will continue to offer support to our students and families as we all work through this loss. This morning, members from our crisis response team developed a one page document to support families as they talk with children about dealing with grief and loss, such as this. That document is attached to this communication.

In closing, please keep Henry’s family in your thoughts and prayers, and know that we are committed to ensuring the well-being of all of our students through this most difficult time.

With Great Respect,

Jason J. Kennedy

Superintendent

Ludington Area School District

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