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Red Level community mourns student death

A recent tragedy shook the community of Red Level when a 16-year-old student of Red Level High School died on Thursday afternoon.

School officials said they are working hard to console the Red Level High School community, as well as family and friends.

“Since receiving the tragic news, we have implemented a crisis response plan to help students and staff respond to this sad and unfortunate death,” RLHS principal Randy McGlaun said. “Students have been able to talk about their emotions and feelings with their teachers and classmates. Along with Red Level School counselors, pastors from several local churches are set up on campus to assist our students and the community.  Our auditorium has been set up for anyone who needs private counseling.”

Though they do not have all of the answers as to what happened, McGlaun said they will continue to work hard in letting his students know they are not alone.
“We do not have all the answers so we ask for help from many areas,” McGlaun said. “Superintendent Mr. Shannon Driver and our Central Office personnel have always been proactive initiating conversations between schools and professional instruction in all matters, especially when the well being of our students are involved. Ongoing professional development for our staff and faculty, letting our students know they are not alone and teach them how to protect and support each other.   Most important is to listen to our students.   All students have something to say but they have to know it’s OK to speak up and that their voice matters. Also, adults need to listen to what is said and not just hear ‘words’.”

McGlaun said the student always had a smile and always excelled in the classroom.
“Oh my, we are devastated,” McGlaun said. “The sudden and tragic death of a child so precious leaves us hurting and looking for answers. She is a beautiful, quiet, kind young lady who excelled in the classroom and always had a smile.  I count myself as fortunate to be able to have known her. She will be deeply missed.”

Prayers and support for the Red Level community is all that McGlaun asks.

“Please keep this family in your prayers,” McGlaun said. “They will need all the love, warmth and support from the Red Level community to help during this difficult time.  Lastly, I encourage everyone to work together to be a positive influence during the healing process.”

Covington County School’s superintendent Shannon Driver said it is a terrible tragedy for the Red Level community that this happened.

“It is so sad,” Driver said. “Our hearts go out to the families. It is just a terrible, terrible loss.”

Yesterday morning counselors were available for the students and faculty at RLHS.

“A lot of the kids did take advantage of that,” Driver said. “It gave them the opportunity to get in small groups and talk to each other. I think it was a very good time for the kids to be able to get some support, and we are going to continue to provide support for whatever is necessary.”

Driver said since Red Level is such a tight-knit community, it hits a little harder than usual for them.

“Everybody knows everybody,” Driver said. “It really hurts when you have a tragedy like this. We want to do whatever we can to help the kids and help the community during this time. Mr. McGlaun, the school teachers and counselors have all done remarkably well to try and provide that support that every body needs there. I know that it will have to continue.”

Covington County Sheriff Blake Turman released a statement saying:

“Circumstances surrounding this incident are delicate in nature and we are taking the necessary steps to bring the investigation to an end and/or closure. I ask that the community be patient and offer support for the family and the Red Level Community.”

The Star-News will update as more information is provided.