SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Counseling services have been made available for students in Nixa following the death of a 4th-grade student.

Nine-year-old Alex Finley was killed in a car crash in Nixa Wednesday night. Burrell Behavioral Health has a partnership with Nixa Public Schools to help support students, especially during a time like this.

Those with Burrell said kids can respond in different ways to traumatic events like the death of a classmate. For many, they may not vocalize what they are thinking.

They encourage parents to give their kids permission to share how they’re feeling.

“If you have a friend or a loved one who you know, you’re back in the classroom setting and they’re no longer there, that’s really difficult,” said Elizabeth Avery with Burrell. “That’s really hard.”

Avery said students affected harshly might not be who you’d expect.

“It’s not always the obvious kid,” Avery said. “There could be kids who are triggered by this event that, they didn’t know the student directly, that we check in with them. We see how they’re doing. We have an ongoing conversation about how they might be impacted.”

The school district sent out the following statement in regards to Finley’s death:

Dear Parents and Guardians and JTSD family,

We are saddened to learn of the death of Alex Finley, a 4th grade student at JTSD for the 2022-23 school year, and we extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family. Many children may be affected by this news. We encourage you to be especially sensitive and prepared to offer support to your child during this time.

Over the next few days, encourage your child to express his or her own feelings. And listen attentively. You may see behavior changes, loss of concentration, physical complaints, or regression.

If you have any concerns about your child’s reaction to this loss, contact your child’s teacher, the school counselors, or administrative staff.

We will be providing counseling services to anyone who needs them at JTSD from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. today. Please feel free to stop by any time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jennifer Chastain, Principal”