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Jun 16, 2022

Primary School Students are Learning How to Cope with Grief

Diane Garnett

This morning, a cohort of students from Grace Primary School was recognized for completing a six-week course on how to cope with grief.  Several of these children have lost their loved ones, either to natural causes or gun violence.  Through the Department of Youth Services, an initiative was launched to teach them the skills they need to cope with personal losses.  News Five spoke with school principal Diane Garnett and Pamela Dyer of the Department of Youth Services.


Diane Garnett, Principal, Grace Primary School

“We have children whose parents and grandparents were dying from COVID.  We had to also be battling with children who were seeing the loss of their parents through gun violence.  Now we, as teachers, can do our best but we are not trained to deal with grief and loss.  And talking with a friend of mine, I was able to be contacted with Ms. Pam, who is also my friend, and to know about this program.  Our children have done two cohorts, if you want to say that, with them and we see a significant difference.  Children who were withdrawn and closed in have been able to release and say what’s happening.  Like you’ve heard, they were able to go to words, they were able to use the skills and gave their testimony about how to deal with grief and how to learn that it’s a journey, it’s not going to end tomorrow and that makes a better learning environment for them.  It makes a better school for us, you know.  So everybody is better able to cope and that’s the value of this program.”


Pamela Dyer

Pamela Dyer, Department of Youth Services

“Grief and loss is something that, as a society, sometimes we think that it will just go away.  But honestly, the trauma remains for a long time, depending especially on how the loss came about, you know.  So it is very important.  Our department works with youths between the ages of fourteen to twenty-nine. So when the principal called us, as she had explained, the age limit was below our target.  However, looking at the long-term benefits, looking at the crime situation, looking at what is happening with our young people, if we could capture them from an early age to help them to cope, to give them some skills and techniques to help them in the sense of how to react to trauma in a more positive way and not to give in to negativity.  It will really benefit the individual and at large, our country.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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