Dear Da Vinci Science Families,
As you know by now, one of our beloved teachers and colleagues, Mr. Steve Anderson, passed away on Thursday evening. This morning, our entire school came together for an all-school meeting, then students spent time in Advisory to grieve and to remember Mr. Anderson. We’ve had grief counselors on campus all day, in addition to our regular counseling staff. Counselors will be on campus all week providing on-site counseling and other resources to address the needs of our students and staff.
A Celebration of Life will take place here at Da Vinci on Sunday, October 20 at 3:00 PM. All students, alumni, friends, and families are invited to attend.
We wish to share some additional resources with families during this difficult week. Grief is a process and can come in many stages and forms. Your teen may react to news related to this event in a variety of ways. The following information contains a few strategies that might assist you with addressing their concerns.
Grief and Loss – Teenagers
Teenagers grieve in much the same way as adults. At this stage in their development they often have emotional ‘ups and downs’ and can become deeply distressed. They can grieve over the break-up of friendships and relationships, parents’ separation, or the death of someone close. They can become withdrawn, depressed and moody. They may want to spend more time with friends than family, but they still need to know you are there to talk to if needed. Some teens show their sadness through angry feelings to cover up their underlying feelings. Others just need to do active and noisy things (e.g., go for a run, dance to loud music, or play sports with friends. Some may find comfort in art, music, writing poetry, walking alone, or being in a quiet place to deal with their grief.
What parents/guardians can do
Help your teen express their feelings.
- Let your child know you understand they are having difficult feelings. Provide an environment where they feel safe to express their feelings in whatever way they can.
- Help them find ways to express their feelings (e.g. through play, writing a letter, a story, a poem, painting, drawing or music.)
- Allow your teen time to talk, ask questions and share their worries.
- Make extra time to spend with your teen – they will need closeness and comfort. Sharing emotions and feeling connected with others can be a great support.
- Telling children how you are managing your feelings, even if you are sad, shows them that grief can be coped with. You will help them understand grief is a normal part of life.
We encourage you to let us know what’s happening with your student. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your son/daughter’s school counselor or school psychologist through our school office. You are always welcome to contact me as well.
When your teen needs extra help
We encourage students to seek help from our Da Vinci Science counselors or other professionals who know about grief if your child shows unusual signs that continue such as not wanting to talk about their feelings, a preoccupation with death, anger, excessive crying, sadness or depression, the inability to concentrate, or is ‘withdrawn’ at school weeks and months later.
Please find below a list of counseling resources that may be helpful for your students or other family members.
We will continue to care for each other as we share our stories and memories of our beloved friend, teacher, and colleague Mr. Anderson. I am grateful to be a part of such a loving and supportive school family. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if I can provide additional support or if you have questions or concerns.
Didi Hirsch – Inglewood (multiple locations)
232 N. Prairie Avenue
Inglewood CA 90301
Richstone Family Center
13634 Cordary Ave.
Hawthorne, CA 90250
Pepperdine Community Counseling Clinic
6100 Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90045
The Gathering Place
5315 Torrance Blvd., Suite B1
Torrance, CA 90503
The Maple Counseling Center
9107 Wilshire Blvd., Lower Level
Beverly Hills, CA 90210