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Cookeville High To Provide Counseling Monday After Shooting Death

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville High To Provide Counseling Monday After Shooting Death

Cookeville High School will be offering additional student counseling Monday in the wake of last Friday’s shooting of a Cookeville senior.

18-year-old Demarcus “Alex” Hughes shot and killed Friday at West End Park. Coordinated School Health Supervisor Trey Upchurch said the school plans to have social workers and school counselors on hand Monday as students return to school for the first time since the shooting. Upchurch said the school will make an announcement Monday morning letting students know that support is there if they need it.

Social Emotional Wellness Coordinator Shelia Barker said grief is challenging especially when a loss is unexpected.

“Trying to get back into a normal environment sometimes is still very difficult,” Barker said. “Especially coming to school for the first time in classes where he is not going to be present. You know, just making sure they know they have people to talk to in case they are struggling.”

Barker said students will be impacted by this tragedy in a variety of ways. She said his direct circle of friends are going to struggle differently than students who still may get triggered in a different way by the tragedy. Cookeville High School has been on fall break since the shooting.

“We also have had other students who’ve had losses in their lives who may not known the student, but it brings that up for them,” Barker said. “So they struggle just due to that. They are having a lot of memories of something to do with the past.”

Upchurch said having counseling after a tragic situation has been important for students in the past.

“I truly feel students appreciate this,” Upchurch said. “I’ve seen it in the past. We’ve had numerous situations students have expressed just how much it meant to them to know they can come in and talk to a trusted adult and share their feeling. There’s no judgement. There’s nothing more than being completely open and honest. I think that’s a huge relief.”

Barker said she knows not all students react to grief the same. She said she understands that some students will handle the tragedy better by grieving privately. Both Barker and Upchurch said if a student feels like they need to talk, their doors are open even beyond Monday.


The post Cookeville High To Provide Counseling Monday After Shooting Death appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.