PLANTSVILLE - A young boy was killed on Mount Southington last Tuesday and the community is heartbroken to know what was meant to be a fun experience turned out to be a tragic one.
"He was a kind and caring boy who got along with everyone - young and old, boys and girls alike" - those are the words in a touching obituary for eight-year old Logan Murphy Mengold who police said died in a tragic skiing accident.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Mengold died from a skull fracture and blunt force trauma to the head.
Mengold still had a big future ahead of him; his obituary stated he loved lacrosse and basketball.
Principal Chris Wermuth of Long Meadow Elementary School of Regional School District 15 sent out a letter to families of his classmates.
It said "We are continuing to provide emotional support to our students as needed through our counselors and support staff in addition to extra staff from across the district."
Nicholas Fortunato said he skis at Mount Southington all the time and was here the day of the tragedy.
"I saw a lot of snowmobiles go up the half pipe and I was like what’s going on? I heard two ambulances come and I think one pulled in around that area and it was crazy because the whole entire half pipe was closed off for the whole entire day," said Fortunato of Cheshire.
Kylie Brino is a part of the race team there and found out through word of mouth.
"My coaches mentioned this and a few kids on my team were talking about it when it happened," said Brino of Southington.
According to the National Ski Areas Association, during the 2017 to 2018 season, 37 people died which has been a 19 percent decrease from previous years.
During that season, 90 percent of those who died were males and skiers and snowboarders have a very small chance of dying from the sport.
Police have not provided additional details as what led to the incident.
The youth attended Long Meadow Elementary School in Middlebury. Christopher Wermuth, the principal, sent out a letter to families.
Dear LMES Families,
Yesterday was a difficult day for many students, parents, and staff as the loss of a student can impact everyone in one way or another. I want to let you know that we are continuing to provide emotional support to our students as needed through our counselors and support staff in addition to extra staff from across the district. This support can take many forms such as a classroom conversation, individual counseling, or something in-between. Please don’t hesitate to reach out should you feel that a child in your care could use a caring conversation, a check-in, or another form of support.
P.S. I am including the following guidelines which many might find helpful. These recommendations come from The Dougy Center: The National Center for Grieving Children & Families, and the link follows the text. While these were written for teachers, I think you will find it to be good advice for anyone helping our students to navigate through this difficult time.
Be a good listener: What grieving students find most helpful is a safe, trusted person, who will listen to them. They want to tell their story, share their fears and concerns and just be with a safe adult when they need to be quiet. Grieving students have taught us that they don’t want to be treated differently, yet they are different. Ask your students to explain to you what happened and reflect back to them what they said. Have them tell you what they need and what would be helpful to them, giving them choices and suggestions. They usually will be able to tell you what they want.
Follow Routines: During the grief process, it is helpful for bereaved students to know that there is a structure and routine to their day. When they know what to expect, they can let go of worrying about what will happen next. This allows them the emotional energy that they need to work on their grief. Routines provide a sense of safety which is very comforting to the grieving student. It is important to remember that there will be times when it is best to give up the planned activity and use a teachable moment to allow students to talk about the death of to remember the person who died. Be careful not to become rigid with regard to routines.
Set limits: Along with routines, it is important to set limits for students. Limits help provide a safe and consistent environment. Just because students are grieving does not mean that the rules do not apply. When grieving, students may experience lapses in concentration or exhibit risk-taking behavior. Setting clear limits provides a more secure and safer environment for everyone under these circumstances. Often people allow the grieving child to do anything he or she wants, which generally is not helpful. What she may want and need most is to have someone tell her what to do.
Steps You Can Take to Help:
• Tell the truth, use accurate words. Listen without judgment.
• Say something that acknowledges you know about the death and care.
• Talk about the person who died, using their name and sharing memories.
• Provide structure and routine with flexibility as needed.
• Seize those special moments that may arise to teach about grief.
• Know that you can’t take away the pain, fear, aloneness or feeling of being different. And understand that your role is not to get rid of those feelings, but to provide a safe atmosphere where they can be expressed.
• Provide a structured, safe environment for grief.
• Comprehend that the student’s life has changed forever and that it will never be the same.
• Allow for grief, sorrow, anger, and other feelings.