Mourning A Student

Mourning A Student
Posted on 06/17/2017

June 16, 2017

Dear Cleveland High School families, 

It is with great sadness that I let you know that one of our students, 11th grader John Bernard Garcia, has passed away unexpectedly. Our thoughts are with his family during this unimaginable time. We respect their privacy and will honor their request that the services for John will be for family members only.  They are grateful for the condolences and love of our school community, but ask to not be visited or contacted by non-family members as they mourn their loss.  The family’s greatest need right now is space and privacy for their grief. 


To help our student community process this news, we have arranged additional counselors to be at school on Monday, and will continue to have support available throughout the week.


When someone dies it is normal for adolescents to have different kinds of feelings and reactions. Parents and guardians have important roles in helping students process a death. Each family has its own way of dealing with death, and we encourage families to talk with one another about their ideas, thoughts and beliefs.  


Here are some recommendations from professionals for how to help students cope:


  • Maintain a normal routine.
  • Stick to facts and answer questions factually. If you don’t know something, it is ok to say that.
  • Remain calm and reassuring. Students take their cues from their parents and adults.
  • Be a good listener and observer. Pay attention to changes in behavior.
  • Notice when children have questions and want to talk. Talking can be a healing way for families to process.
  • Be especially loving and supportive; children and teens need you even more at this time.
  • Take care of yourself. You are better able to help your child if you are coping well.


We recognize that even if your student may not have known or been close to this student, he/she may still feel a strong reaction. We also realize this may be your child’s first experience with death or it may trigger feelings about other deaths your child may have experienced.


If you have any questions, please let me know. Together, we will support our students, families, staff and the greater Cleveland community.  




George Breland


Cleveland High School

© Seattle Public SchoolsWebsite by SchoolMessenger Presence opens a new window.  © 2017 West Corporation. All rights reserved.