DUBLIN (KPIX 5) — Dublin High School staff held a meeting with parents Wednesday night to give them advice on how to talk to their teens about grief following a deadly crash that took the lives of three students.
The Christmas Day accident remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol. Twins Michael and Mark Urista as well as Javier Ramirez died. Two other Dublin High students remain hospitalized.
“We’ve hit all kinds of emotions, the kids are devastated, as are teachers and staff,” said school counselor Cynthia Walker. “It’s a community loss.”
Nearly 3,000 Dublin High students returned to school this week after winter break. Many spent the holiday time off mourning the loss and remembering the three teens who left behind a huge void in the school community.
But the grief is uncharted territory for many.
“It’s not something that these kids have really experienced before, or parents having to have had that conversation before,” said Walker.
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Wednesday’s meeting, led by counselors and faith leaders, was attended by about a dozen parents.
Raj Thangellapalli, whose son attends Dublin High, said he went to the meeting to get help on how to speak to his son, who was in shock after hearing the news of his classmates’ deaths.
He said his 14-year-old couldn’t articulate his emotions, but neither could he.
“I see that kind of shock in him and he couldn’t explain to me what is happening,” said Thangellapalli. “I also didn’t know how to speak to him about that.”
School staff said they plan to hold future meetings as they continue through the grieving process. Walker said it will take time to heal, but they plan to do it together as a community.
“We kind of hurt together, but at the same time celebrating that we’re doing it together and we’ll get through it together,” she said.