Honoring 5th Grader Damian Medina

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I am sorry to inform you that a 5th Grade student from our school, Damian Medina, passed away on December 21, 2012. His older brother who attended Los Nietos Middle School, Nathan Medina, also passed away in the incident when the car they were riding in hit a power pole in Santa Fe Springs on Los Nietos Road. The boys' father was in critical condition due to the accident and was transported to the hospital.

Death can be difficult for us to understand, especially when it is sudden. All of us will be feeling a variety of emotions: shock, sadness, withdrawl, and/or confusion to list some examples. What is most important is that we care for and support each other. The Los Nietos School District Crisis Response Team has made plans to respond to the emotional needs of the students. Earlier today, classroom teachers informed students about the incident. In classroom support for students who shared a class with Damian will be provided by a counselor. Additionally, small group and individual grief counseling will be made available to all students and staff that included a team of mental health advocates: School Counselors, Guidance Counseling Interns, Pacific Clinics Therapists, and a School Psychologist. Counselors will be available throughout the week and on an as needed basis throughout the year. Referrals to Pacific Clinics and other counseling support agencies in our community are available should you feel that your child requires more extensive and long-term assistance.

If your family has experienced a death or similar loss recently, the death of Damian may bring up feelings about that death. This is a normal experience. Please call our school to let us know if there is any additional information the school should be aware of so we can provide the support to meet your child’s needs. The school's phone number is 562-699-0913.

Anytime we hear of a death, it is stressful. This sudden death may be disturbing to you as well as to your child. It is for this reason that we especially want you to know of our care and support. A link to a handbook in English and Spanish entitled, “After a Loved One Dies— How Children Grieve and How Parents and Other Adults Can Support Them” is available on our school’s website. (Below) You may request a hard copy of the handbook from our school’s office.

On Friday afternoon at 1:30 5th graders will be releasing balloons with messages they have written in honor of Damian.

Becky Speh