The growing memorial outside a Massachusetts school is a sign of the growing support many students say they need after one of their classmates was found decapitated and another was charged with his murder.
Officials from the city and from Lawrence High School met Sunday to discuss what can be done in wake of what happened. Sixteen-year-old Lee Viloria-Paulino's body was found in the Merrimac River Thursday. His classmate, 15-year-old Matthew Borges, has been charged with the brutal crime.
"At the end of the day, there's always going to be a reminder to those kids, an empty chair or a graded paper or something connected to them," Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera said. "We have to help them deal as best we can."
The school has called in a trauma and crisis team to help, made up of counselors who are available to anyone who needs it. Family Services of the Merrimack Valley is just one of the organizations assisting.
"Some kids are scared. Some kids are numb. Some kids are confused. Some kids really wonder what’s going on," Dr. Ronnie Ginsberg, a clinical psychologist at Family Services said. "All of those feelings are normal."
Dr. Ginsberg said it is also important for parents to reassure their children if the feelings come up in conversations at home. She said it is not uncommon for feelings to change and evolve as the investigation moves forward.
"If it comes up at the dinner table, certainly for parents to reassure their kids that the adults in the community are working hard to figure out what’s happening and making sure all the kids are safe," Dr. Ginsberg said.
Rivera said the support services will be available to students at school through the end of the week and longer if necessary.