Aurora Community Attempts to Cope With Loss of Teacher - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Aurora Community Attempts to Cope With Loss of Teacher

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The Aurora community is trying to cope with the sudden loss of a second grade teacher.

Lauren Akerson, 31, was killed in a car crash in York County Saturday.

Aurora Public School Superintendent Damon McDonald said Monday, the first day back to school after the accident was a struggle.

McDonald said the school's crisis team met over the weekend to discuss a plan and will continue to meet daily to assess the needs of students and staff.

In situations like this, licensed mental health practitioner Carole Denton says kids may wonder if more people in their life will die. She says it's important to tell the child that deadly accidents are rare.

Denton says charts and pictures can help them find the right emotions, which can be hard for kids.

Also, she says don't tell your children "God needed another angel." It could lead them to distrust God. And, it's OK to cry in front of your kids. Denton says tell them you are sad too.

She says most important is giving a child comfort, compassion and protection.

"Watch for regressive behaviors. Children may become more aggressive at home, less patient," said Denton. "Their grades may drop. They may not want to do homework so look for regressed behaviors and know that's normal too."

Denton says let a child decide if they want to go to a funeral. Akerson's will be held Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church on Highway 14.

Denton suggests a website for more advice on talking to kids about loss.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, neighbors and friends helped Akerson's husband Steve with harvest.

He had this to say on Twitter: "The love and support shown by everyone has been amazing! So blessed to live in such a great community!"

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