FOREST GROVE, Ore. – A Forest Grove High School student died Tuesday night and counselors were helping some students on campus deal with the loss.
Cody Fellows died in his sleep, according to Principal Karen Robinson. His youth pastor told KGW he died from complications of a heart condition that had developed after a car accident.
Robinson said students and staff were told about Cody’s death at school Wednesday and counselors were on hand to help anyone who needed it. He was a senior at Forest Grove High School.
A memorial was planned for Wednesday, starting at 7 p.m., in the Children's Ministry room at Sonrise Church, located at 2835 19th Avenue in Forest Grove.
Robinson sent a letter home to parents and posted a message on the high school website.
“This can be a difficult time for parents as we help our children deal with death,” the letter said. “We know that you will join us in our support and sympathy for those impacted by this sad event.”
She also offered these tips in helping children deal with the loss:
- This event might bring up questions, concerns or other fears for your child.
- Be sensitive about whether s/he is needing or wanting to talk Bring it up in case s/he is reluctant to do so.
- Ask about his/her reactions to this, and accept those feelings as stated. Resist the temptation to minimize the pain, deny the feelings or give advice. Simply listen.
- Helpful responses on your part: "Tell me more about that." or "Have you ever felt that way before?" or "I wonder if there are other things that are worrying you?" or “What are other students saying about this?"
- Be concrete and brief in your answers, especially with younger children. Allow some silence and processing time after a statement.
- Be especially emotionally available and non-judgmental.
- Allow kids to move in and out of grieving at their own pace.
- Remember the importance of humor, laughter, joking.
Anyone with questions was encouraged to call the Forest Grove High School office at 503-359-2432.