CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Students at Stonewall Jackson Middle School in Charleston are dealing with the death of a classmate. The 15-year-old boy died Sunday afternoon when he drowned in a Jackson County lake during an outing with a church group.
Stonewall Principal Jessica Austin said they brought in experts to help the student body begin the grieving process.
“A team has been assembled to meet with our students and talk about their grief and work through it with them,” explained Austin.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim as Shawn Jones, Jr.
He was kayaking on a lake at Parchment Valley Baptist Retreat Center near Ripley when the boat filled with water. Jones was not wearing a life vest. Despite several attempts to save him, the teen drowned. His body was found at the bottom of the 12-foot lake three hours later. He was with a group of youth and adults from Emmanuel Baptist Church in Charleston.
Austin said it’s a tough loss for teachers and staff and especially students.
“(The students) are going through a lot of different things. This is not something you want to deal with at this young in your life,” stressed the principal. “But they are strong and they’re working through their feelings and emotions and coming together as a family.”
Austin said grief counselors would remain at the school as long as they are needed. This is the last week of the school year in Kanawha County.