From Superintendent Mr. Novasio
Last Wednesday was a tough day in the community of Lockwood as we learned of the tragic loss of Michael Fisher. This was the second time in less than three years we have lost a young member of our Lockwood School family. In July of 2016, we lost in-coming 7th grader Taeva Hawkins to an accident as well. By all accounts both youth were bright, friendly, and kind. As a veteran administrator and father who has lost my own son as well, these are the most difficult situations we find ourselves in as educators.
First and foremost, we are dealing with a family who has lost their son, a family whose lives will never be the same. We want to respect their privacy and their grieving process. Every family is different; there is no right or wrong way to morn the loss of a loved one especially a child. A parent burying his or her child is the most unnatural act possible; it is not the way life should play out for anyone. I wish no one would ever have to experience this devastating situation again.
The idea that everyone grieves differently also applies to our staff. Teachers almost always enter the profession because of their love of children, as educators we become caretakers as well becoming attached to our students emotionally. The loss of someone in your care always hits deep and often you start to take on blame yourself asking, “What could I have done to help prevent this loss?” As a school we need to make sure we have support and resources available for our staff to work through their grief as well.
Educating our students is the core mission for a school and this includes dealing with difficult situations. These students have lost a classmate and friend. Someone they rode the bus with, played with at recess, or ate lunch with. How do we help them deal with this loss? Understanding death is one of the great mysteries of life; mankind has been trying to understand what happens to us when we leave this world since the dawn of time. This is a delicate position for us to be in as a school. Children have a much different perspective on loss than we do as adults, every child has had different exposure to death, and every family has different beliefs on the afterlife and religion. These discussions really need to take place in the family environment, but as a school we have to let our students know it is appropriate to be sad and possibly fixate on the loss for a time. We need to be supportive and validate their feelings without blurring the lines of their individual family values. We will continue to provide counseling services for our students as they too work their way through the grief process. If your child needs support please don't hesitate to reach out to their teacher, counselor, or principal.
Time is an illusion; it is a trick. When we think we have plenty it goes fast, but once we know it is finite it seems to slow down. In my mind, the two weeks we had with our son seems just as long as the seven plus years since that time. We all have busy lives, more than ever our children are involved in activities, and we as parents are seemingly going one hundred different ways. Please take time to consciously slow down, unplug, and find a way to spend some real quality time with your child; you won't regret it. Regardless if you have two weeks or twenty years with your child left at home, it will go by too fast and you can never get it back.
Our community has rallied around the Fisher family over the past week. If you would like to help out or just want to provide a token of your support you can contact the school or simply go to the attached link: https://www.gofundme.com/2m4w3-fisher-family
. We are working with Michael's family to find a way to create a lasting tribute to his life here at the school; we will try to make sure his all too short life will be remembered.
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to reach out to me. As always, thank you for the opportunity to work with your children. Go Lions!