SALINE COUNTY, Ark. (KTHV) – The Haskell Harmony Grove School District is bracing to start the school year on a different note Monday (Aug. 13).
A 16-year-old girl died yesterday in a car crash on I-30, just two weeks after another teen died from a self-inflicted gunshot.
Sunday (Aug. 12), the Haskell community honored the girl’s life as the district prepared for the week ahead.
“Anytime you lose a child it’s extremely hard, doesn’t matter if it’s the first day of school or the last day of school,” said Superintendent Heath Bennett.
Arkansas State Police reports said that on Saturday, a minor died after a Jeep veered off of I-30 and struck a drain causing the vehicle to go airborne and strike a pillar.
Bennett said the 16-year-old, Olivia Brewington, was about to start her junior year.
Her mother, a Harmony Grove faculty member, was preparing for her school year as well.
“It’s going to be tough for our students, it’s going to be tough for our faculty that loved Olivia. And it’s going to be tough for the faculty that’s very close friends with her mother,” said Bennett.
Bennett said it’s important students and faculty members have all the resources they need at this time.
“We’ve got our counselors on site. We’ve also reached out to grief counselors and we’re going to have at least two or three coming in besides our counselors,” said Bennett.
School staff hope to do what they can to start healing.
“It just is a horrific tragedy that has happened. We’ve had a couple of students that have had accidents in the last three weeks. Anytime you lose a child much less two, it’s just terrible,” Bennett said.
Balloons were released at a candlelight ceremony, showing how many people were affected by the loss.
“Heart goes out to those families, to the children and the kids that are around them that were friends and things like that. We will never forget Olivia and we will do what we can,” said Bennett.
The district has gotten offers from surrounding school districts to offer counseling services they have to students as well.