Grief counselors on hand at school where Marguerite Veillette attended

The 8-year old victim, Marguerite, was a third grader at Mason Heights Elementary School.

Five grief counselors were at the school on Monday for students and staff. One of them stayed in Marguerite's classroom all day.

The little girl was bilingual in French and English, which teachers say gave Marguerite a unique perspective.

"Last year there was a little boy from Africa who spoke no english so she embraced him and talked to him. They could be seen walking hand in hand, that's the kind of joy she gave," said Tracey Carson, public information officer for Mason Schools.

Below is a copy of a letter sent home to parents from Mason principal Mike Zimmerman.

Dear MECC Parents,

In an effort to keep you informed, I want to share with you how we approached the handling of the tragic situation that occurred here in Mason Friday night.  Over the weekend, we met as an administrative team to discuss our course of action.  This team included psychologists, counselors, teachers and administrators.  We met with the staff early today to review the plan of action we developed.  We have rearranged schedules and work days to ensure that our school psychologists are present here throughout the week.  Additionally, other buildings in the district have allowed their school counselors to join ours in offering assistance to any students who need support.

Due to the tragic nature of the incident and the young age of our students, we believe that conversations about what occurred are best left to you, the parents, to decide how to handle.  We realize that our children are at varied levels of maturity and have differing amounts of information about the event.  We will certainly continue to offer support for any child who is grieving, but any details about the event should be addressed within the context of the family.  We respect the right of each family to decide what information is and is not shared with their child.

As time goes on, we will not lose sight of the fact that some children may continue to express emotions at a later time.  In light of this, we will continue to prioritize offering support for any child who demonstrates a need for help.  If you are unsure and need help in knowing how to handle questions your child may have, feel free to call our counselors or psychologists here at MECC.  Our desire is to support parents as well as students through this difficult time.

If your child is aware or your family has been touched by this tragedy, some key points to keep in mind are:

       Provide a sense of security by remaining calm in your conversations with your child

       Reassure your child that he or she is safe

       Allow your child to express his or her emotions (all responses are acceptable)

In times like these, perhaps more than any other, we appreciate the love and commitment you have for your children. 


Mike Zimmermann, Principal