March 11, 2019
Dear Chinguacousy Secondary School Families,
It is with great sadness that I write this letter to inform you of the death of one of our students, Ashka Dixit. Police have informed us that Ashka, along with her parents, sister and grandparents, were passengers on the Ethiopian Airlines flight that was involved in a fatal crash over the weekend. You and/or your child may have heard about this tragic incident in the media.
This tragedy has brought great sadness to the students and staff at Chinguacousy Secondary School. Even students who did not personally know Ashka may be affected by this loss. It's important to remember that death can affect students in a variety of ways. Students who have experienced a recent trauma or death in the family may particularly need additional support.
Be aware of signs that your teen may need additional support to deal with this loss. Warning signs include: prolonged physical/psychological distress (lack of appetite, sudden weight gain, persistent aches and pains, continued panic, anxiety, apathy or depression), becoming violent towards self or others, or decline in school performance. Here are some ways you can help your child deal with the grief and trauma:
- Acknowledge the emotional upset.
- Be available to your teen. If you don't know the right thing to say, just listen and validate.
- Provide a reassuring environment in which your teen feels comfortable expressing their thoughts and feelings.
- Encourage your teen to express their emotions in the way that is most comfortable for them. Some people are open about their feelings, while others prefer not to talk about them or may only want to talk to their peers.
- Share an experience you might have had dealing with stressful emotions and what helped you cope.
- Help your teen understand that it's not helpful to engage in speculation and rumours verbally or online.
- Understand that your teen will go on social media. Discuss with your teen to be mindful of their comments and their posts.
- Encourage your teen to engage in self-care activities, for example, ensure they are eating nutritious meals, getting good sleep and engaging in some form of physical activity.
- Encourage your teen to follow normal routines as much as possible. Offer them practical support—like helping with homework and catching up on assignments.
- Seek support from a medical practitioner, if necessary. In case of emergency, please go directly to your closest hospital.
Counsellors will be at our school on Monday, March 18 to support students and staff as they return from March Break. In the meantime, if you or your child require any support, please access the following community resources:
- Peel Crisis Response – 7 days a week – 416-410-8615
- Kids Help Phone – 7 days a week – 1-800-668-6868
- Distress Line of Peel – 7 days a week – 905-278-7208
- Canadian Mental Health Association for 16 and older – 905-278-9036
- Peel Children's Centre (Monday to Friday) – 905-451-4655
- Tangerine Walk-In Counselling (Tuesday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.) – www.tangerinewalkin.com
Our thoughts are with the family and those impacted at this difficult time.