Schools, town offers counseling help to deal with tragedy of Emily Fedorko’s death

The investigation into the boating accident that took the life of 16-year-old Greenwich High School student Emily Fedorko is continuing and the Greenwich Police Department is not expected to offer an update on Friday.

The GPD is working with the state’s Environmental Conservation Police (ENCON) to determine what happened leading up to Emily and a friend, who had been inner tubing in Long Island Sound, being struck by a boat driven by another one of their friends on Wednesday afternoon. Emily was killed by this and her friend’s leg injured. The 16-year-old girl driving the boat was fully certified and police believe Emily and her friend became dislodged from the inner tube, which was being towed by the boat, and then were struck when the boat was turned around to attempt and retrieve them from the water.

The investigation will include an accident reconstruction. Few details have been officially released as the investigation is ongoing.

With the community in deep shock and mourning over the tragic incident, the Greenwich Public Schools continues to offer counseling to students, staff members and anyone in the community needing someone to talk to. There will be counselors available at both Greenwich High School and Eastern Middle School today, Aug. 8, until 3 p.m. People coming for this should come to the main office of these schools. Additional support can also be found, according to the district, by contacting Judith Nedell, who is the Greenwich Public Schools’ director of guidance. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or [email protected]

Superintendent of Schools William McKersie said on Thursday that 20 school counselors and psychiatrists have been brought back in to assist during this time and that the district would focus on the impact of the tragedy would continue beyond this week. He said this would be a concern in the weeks and months to come with the new school year set to begin later this month.

The district is also working with various local community groups to provide services as needed. The district directed people seeking help to The Child Guidance Center which provides “immediate mental health support and crisis stabilization services seven days a week for children and adolescents experiencing severe reactions to a traumatic event.” The center is able to provide on-site assistance and counseling for events like this.

There is also help available from the Child Guidance Center’s emergency mobile crisis hotline which can be accessed by dialing 211. There is more information available online at Childguidancect.org. Additionally there is Family Centers in town which has a trauma response team. Family Centers can be reached at 203-655-4693. It’s Center for Hope program “provides comprehensive services for adults and children living with an illness, grieving a loss or coping with a life-altering circumstance. All counseling, support and education services are facilitated by specially-trained professionals in an atmosphere of hope and renewal.”

More information is available online at Familycenters.org/Center-for-HOPE and the trauma response team can be found at Familycenters.org/index.php?ID=2109&XID=2087:2109:0:0:0&PID=2087. The Kids in Crisis hotline also provides 24/7 support at 203-622-6556 and at Kidsincrisis.org/.

Katey Smith, Family Centers’ trauma response coordinator, spoke to the Post on Friday and said right now kids impacted by Emily’s death need a mix of both the support of their parents and other adults but also time with people their own age so they can talk and try and get through this together. Ms. Smith praised the response of the school district in bringing in counselors and taking a long-term approach to this by publicizing available resources. She encouraged kids to take advantage of the counseling that is available, especially in peer groups.

“It’s important for people in need to talk to someone and kids should be able to talk to others in their peer groups because they understand what they’re going through,” Ms. Smith said. “But it’s critical that parents be involved as well. Don’t just ask your child once if they’re ok. You have to follow up and check in on them. Say to your kids, ‘I’m here if you want to talk about it’ and make sure they know it too. Don’t just say it once. Let them know you’re there for them. This is not something that’s going to disappear in a few days. As school starts up and everyone is back together but their friend is gone this is going to be something that will come up again.”

 

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