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School district eases transition after loss of teacher

Students+at+the+elementary+school+took+full+advantage+of+the+comfort+dogs+brought+in+by+Pawprint+Ministries.
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School district eases transition after loss of teacher

Students at the elementary school took full advantage of the comfort dogs brought in by Pawprint Ministries.

Students at the elementary school took full advantage of the comfort dogs brought in by Pawprint Ministries.

Phil Stielow

Students at the elementary school took full advantage of the comfort dogs brought in by Pawprint Ministries.

Phil Stielow

Phil Stielow

Students at the elementary school took full advantage of the comfort dogs brought in by Pawprint Ministries.

Mikayla Dahlkamp, Reporter

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District 15 experienced the loss of a beloved staff member on February 8, 2019. Susan Knuffman taught fifth grade at Meridian Elementary School and was on year 24 of teaching.

Knuffman passed away at the age of 43 due to complications from cancer at Decatur Memorial Hospital.

To ensure the mental health of everyone affected, extensive measures were taken to help students/staff cope with their loss.  There was a care room accessible on both sides of the campus where a counselor was present to talk to students/staff as they were grieving. This room also included soothing activities such as: coloring pages, games, and play-doh to help temporarily get students’ minds to focus on something more positive.

The high school sent students over to the elementary school in hopes to comfort and talk to the younger students during recess.

The school went above and beyond to welcome in comfort dogs from Pawprint Ministries to make sure the entire facility had enough support during this time of grieving. Furry friends greeted Meridian on both ends of the campus as well, while sporting our school colors.

As for staff, the conference room was available throughout the day for any who needed a brief moment to themselves.  Floating subs were available to relieve any teacher if he/she were in the middle of class when this time came, all that was needed was a request to the office.

“I feel the school did a great job with getting the therapy dogs in the school, also with having high schoolers go over to the elementary school and having counselors for students to talk to,” said senior Kyle Farmer.

As a way to remember Knuffman, students/staff will be given the opportunity to create a page that will soon be included in a memory book to be given as a gift to support her family.  They can write about a funny memory they have, how she’s inspired them or simply pay their respects to the Knuffman family.

 

 

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School district eases transition after loss of teacher