Grief counselors assist students after 3 people killed in shooting near Sandy elementary school

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jun 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-07 20:12:27-04

SANDY, Utah -- All three of the children involved in Tuesday's deadly shooting in Sandy attended nearby Brookwood Elementary School. Ever since that tragic incident, a steady flow of parents and students have been seeking out counseling.

"I think the district and the school is doing a great job, this is a really tight-knit community and tight-knit neighborhood here," said parent Ben Draper.

Draper has a kindergartner who attends Brookwood Elementary School. That's the same grade Jase Rackley was in. The six-year-old and his mother were shot and killed Tuesday afternoon. Two other Brookwood students were also shot and injured.

"It's always best just to talk with your kids and be open and honest with them, but also age-appropriate," Draper said.

Draper said having someone to talk to is just as important for the parents as it is for the students.

"We kind of talk it out amongst ourselves, and it kind of prepares you for the conversations with kids," Draper said.

Brookwood had eight counselors on hand Wednesday. They said it's healthy for students to be asking questions, and parents need to be ready and willing to answer.

"Are we safe? Is our community safe? Is our house safe? Is our school safe? And we just want to reaffirm to students that this is a very rare event and your houses and your community and your school are still safe," said counselor Tori Gillett.

The Canyons School District said what's really challenging is the shooting happened just blocks away from Brookwood, as school was letting out.

"It was something that happened so close to one of our campuses, and it happened so close to the students who were walking home at the time," said Jeff Haney, spokesperson for the Canyons School District.

The district said they will have counselors available all summer long, and parents need to look for warning signs when it comes to how their children are dealing with this shooting.

"Parents really just want to watch their kids, see if they see any abnormal behavior, if they are acting out more, if they are withdrawn, just anything abnormal," Gillett said.

Anyone would like to help the victims' family pay for funeral and memorial services is asked to send donations to the Rackley Memorial Fund at Mountain America Credit Union. A GoFundMe page has also been set up for the family.