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In a statement released Friday morning, West Plains R-7 Superintendent Dr. Lori Wilson expressed sadness regarding the death of a West Plains High School student, Kiara Holden.

“We extend our sympathy to the family and friends as we continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers,” she wrote.

Wilson added that counselors, teachers, and administrators have been asked to help the school community cope with the loss by being available to provide emotional support to students and staff. While school was canceled Friday due to the weather, Wilson said school faculty and staff will be ready to support students in the week ahead.

“Over the next few days, students are encouraged to express their feelings and thoughts. It will be helpful to recognize the various steps we all go through in the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.”

Wilson added some common reactions that children experience when reacting to a traumatic event include restlessness and nervous behavior, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping and nightmares, “clingy” behavior or fear of being alone, asking the same question repeatedly and remembering previous losses and events.

“It is our goal to provide this information to our students and parents so that together we can support our children in the grief. Our deepest condolences go out to Kiara’s family and friends.”     

According to a support page managed by her family on Facebook, “Kiara’s Road Ahead,” the teen was diagnosed with leukemia in June 2018.

Holden, a former Glenwood student, was a freshman and an honor roll student.

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