Students return to class after tragedy hits during spring break

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For students at Huffman High School in Birmingham and J.B. Pennington High School in Blountsville, Monday will be a somber day.

Students at Huffman High will return to class today, but one student who many people have known for years won’t be joining them. Huffman students found out their schoolmate, 16-year-old Brieyonna Pearson was killed in a crash last weekend.

Her death came days after two Huffman students were grazed by bullets at a park at senior skip day.

UAB Psychologist Josh Klapow says Monday will likely be a day filled with some ups and downs. There will be grief counselors at Huffman Monday morning, helping students process what happened.

“It can create an emotional overlay for the whole school, one of sadness one of anxiety, one of grief. What teachers and faculty and mental health professionals do very well in these situations is work to rally the school,” said Klapow.

In Blountsville, students at J.B. Pennington will return to class after a fire at the school left the building with extensive damage. Students will be faced with the reality that they’ll be out of their building for at least the rest of the school year.

A fire at the school right before spring break left the library a total loss and most of the classrooms with water and smoke damage.

Klapow says the first day back can be especially emotional for students.

“It is really a part of their life and when you see a part of your life destroyed, even if it’s a physical structure if can have an emotional impact that sometimes catches people off guard, if feels more emotional than students might even imagine.”

Klapow says the best thing parents can do is listen to their kids and pay attention to how they’re feeling.

Meanwhile, multiple funds have been set up to support the rebuilding efforts.

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