Counselors bussed in as East Ridge grieves - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Counselors bussed in as East Ridge grieves

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EAST RIDGE, HAMILTON COUNTY (WRCB) – East Ridge High School officials brought in additional counselors to help students grieving after the death of a classmate.

Principal Zac Brown says there wasn't anything unusual about the JROTC drill, until a 17-year-old girl collapsed Tuesday afternoon. She later died at a hospital.

Brown says he intends to hear all of the students' concerns.

"That is what we can do for our students," Brown says. "We listen and we can help them through the process and go through it together. We will take one day at a time."

The school system brought in more counselors to help grieving students.

Lead Counselor Sheila Smith says she works with many of the students throughout their four years of high school.

She was shocked by the death of the JROTC student, and said the best advice she could offer students today is to show how much the school cares.

"It's the response of caring. There are no exact words. There is no answer," Sheila Smith says.

Smith says dealing with the death of a classmate has never been an easy task.

She's been in education more than 25 years, and says anytime this happens, students looking for answers become overwhelmed with emotion.

"It is a time for our students. They are filled with grief and anguish, questioning, and loss," Smith says.

We still don't know exactly how the girl died.

We checked the Medical Examiner's office and the autopsy report is not available at this time.

We are told the girl was very excited about her future and was looking forward to continuing her education after high school.

The principal says they are in talks with the parents to look for a way to honor the young girl.

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