School copes with loss of student

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 22, 1999

Monday found school district officials still reeling from the accidental shooting of a 13-year-old Morgantown Elementary School student.

Cecilia Banks of 430 Cranfield Road, died Sunday after a 12-gauge shotgun discharged while she was playing in her father’s truck.

&uot;It’s hard for adults to deal with,&uot; said Assistant Superintendent Mary Kate Garvin. &uot;But when children are faced with a friend’s death or the loss of someone they care about, they don’t know how to handle it.&uot;

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Banks was a fifth-grader at Morgantown and a student of Erica Johnson, a first-year teacher at the school.

Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis said he has dealt with student deaths in the past.

&uot;It’s always hard on the teachers (and) everybody,&uot; Davis said. &uot;It’s really difficult.&uot;

The Natchez-Adams School District plans to help students and staff cope with the tragedy.

The district is closed this week for Thanksgiving, but when Morgantown reopens Monday, six counselors will be at the school.

&uot;We are going to provide counseling and someone for those children to talk to,&uot;&160;Garvin said.

The counseling will be provided as long as it is needed.

&uot;We are going to do all we can do to support (Banks) parents and the students out at that building and the adults out there,&uot; Davis said.

District officials are also concerned about how this will impact Banks’ teacher, Erica Johnson.

Since she is a new teacher it may be even harder for her, Garvin said. &uot;We’ve got to be there to support her and be there for her, and we will be,&uot;&160;she said.

Banks’ death reminded Garvin of a previous time in her career when a student died of cancer.

&uot;When you are in a situation like this, you are just at a loss for words,&uot; Garvin said.

It makes her think if the district could do more to prevent gun-related accidents.

&uot;When it’s this close to home, it makes you stop and wonder, as a school district, what can we do to educate are parents and our community on the need for gun safety,&uot; Garvin said.