Counselors at Buffalo Grove Help Students Deal with Grief
Holmes, Erin, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
For those who knew Buffalo Grove High School senior Karolina Zieske, the rest of this year can never be the same.
But four days after Zieske's death from a bacterial disease, officials say students aren't panicking about catching the illness, and life is returning to almost-normal.
On Monday, Principal Carter Burns reported a "steady stream," of students visiting 12 on-hand counselors to get help dealing with Zieske's sudden death.
Tuesday, the high school kept 11 counselors on duty, but Burns said few students visited them.
He said Monday night's two-hour memorial service provided some closure for students.
And those who knew Zieske best also were likely to be getting support at home and in class, said Assistant Principal Trisha Dean.
"They had a lot of support with each other, with parents, with their teachers," she said. "I think those students had a lot of support with each other."
But psychologists say even those who didn't know Zieske well may eventually need grief counseling. And while some kids do experience immediate effects from a tragic loss, it can take much longer for reality to sink in.
"The healing process isn't overnight," said Barbara Barry, a psychologist with Palatine Township Elementary School District 15. "It's a long process where kids and adults need to be continually monitored."
Buffalo Grove plans follow-up counseling with faculty and students especially disturbed by Zieske's death. Counselors will be available in student services.
Zieske died on Friday, just two days after she'd attended a full day of school without appearing ill. She died from a rare, fast- moving bacterial disease called meningococcemia, which is spread only through direct contact like sharing food or kissing.
Counselors said students' fear of the disease sent them to staff members last week with questions about meningococcemia.
By this week, that fear had been replaced with concern for Zieske's family and grief over losing a classmate without warning. …