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City schools respond to fire deaths

Published: Thu, January 24, 2008 @ 12:06 a.m.

YOUNGSTOWN — Dr. Wendy Webb, Youngstown school superintendent, said grief counselors have been called in to help children at North Elementary deal with the deaths of their classmates.

Ranaisha Crawford was in the second grade and her sister, Jeannine Crawford, 5, was in kindergarten at North.

A younger sister, Aleisha Crawford, was in preschool at P. Ross Berry Middle School.

“It’s just been a sad day,” Webb said Wednesday.

Teachers and counselors at North began talking about the deaths to the pupils Wednesday and letters were sent home to parents and guardians alerting them that grief counselors would be in the school and classrooms today.

The matter wasn’t discussed with the preschool children at Berry, Webb said, explaining that a letter was sent home to parents and guardians alerting them to Aleisha’s death and advising them to handle the matter in the manner they deem appropriate for their child.

North is expected to hold a memorial service at some point for Ranaisha and Jeannine, Webb said. The building principal is already talking about planting a tree in their memory, something city schools have done in the past to remember deceased classmates, she said.

The children will also be given the opportunity to write cards and do artwork in memory of Ranaisha and Jeannine, Webb said.

The girls’ older brother who attends East High School will be given any support he needs to deal with the tragedy, she said.


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