West Delaware helps students cope with loss of classmate - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

West Delaware helps students cope with loss of classmate

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by John Wilmer

MANCHESTER (KWWL) -- An investigation is under way into what authorities are calling a fatal hunting accident in rural Delaware County.

Authorities say 18-year old Ronnie Lawson was squirrel hunting with friends and the group later turned to target practice. Lawson's friends couldn't see him because of dense leaves. He was accidently shot and killed.

It was a difficult day for a number of students at west Delaware high school. Ronnie Lawson was a senior there. He was expected to graduate in May.

Principal Jon Nordaas has been leading the effort to make sure the students impacted by this loss are being cared for.   Losing a friend and classmate is difficult at any age, but more so when you're young. 

"It's probably one of the worst things we can face because of the overall effects and the effects are really hard to gage on some individuals," said Nordaas.

Several counselors will be available for students including west Delaware school counselor Alicia Soppe.

"We need to make sure we have enough counselors in place in areas they are needed to be and we have room set up here at the school to make sure those kids are being seen and help them whenever they need help for the day," said Soppe.

School officials say it's important to keep students informed, but it's difficult to be the first ones to give them the information because of new technology like cell phones.

"We want to make sure we handle situations like this in the best way possible not only for us but for the family as well. We realize we are going to have to communicate some information or what happened to our staff and our students," said Nordaas.

School officials went to the Lawson home Monday night to show their sympathy and offer their support.

"We are available not only for our student but our families. We are a very close community and the effects of a tragedy are sometimes hard to identify right away," Soppe said.

Counselors will be available to students during the upcoming weeks. They will also be attending the funeral and wake incase their help is required there.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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