Superior Schools Helping Students Cope with Explosion

The school district wants to make sure students dealing with stress, will receive help.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- It’s been a week of getting back to normal for some Superior students after just last week, some witnessed the Husky Refinery explosion right from their classroom window.

Now educators and families are discussing mental health. The school district wants to make sure students dealing with stress, will receive help.  Families and educators are keeping a close eye on students after last week’s emergency evacuation. No seat was left empty last Thursday as buses transported students to emergency shelters.

“You don’t think it could happen in your area,” grandparent Bill Trosien said.

Overall parents we spoke with praise the educators ability to keep the chaotic experience calm. But the explosion definitely startled some students.

“So there were some kids nervous and worried,” superintendent Janna Stevens said.

Many students saw the smoke from classroom windows, some even felt a tremble caused by the explosion.

“I think every student has their own unique perspective, obviously if they have a family member that’s working at the refinery they’re clearly worried is the person I love okay,” Stevens said.

School officials tell us quick communication from parents working at the refinery helped reassure students their loved ones were okay.

“But still I think when you see that it’s different than actually getting to hug that person again,” Stevens said.

Parents and grandparents described to us the memory of picking the kids up and immediately noticing the concern painted on their faces.

Something was going on, you could tell the nervousness, they were glad to be out, when we saw the smoke and how it was building,”

School officials and parents agree, having the long weekend to digest what happened, made it easier for students to digest.

“The calm that was kept at school was really important, but I did sense as kids were being lined up they knew it wasn’t a normal day,”  Trosien said.

Faculty members have been prepped for students who may have a continuing need to talk about this possibly traumatic event.

“But I think it’s just having a watchful eye to see if the child seemed that they’re acting differently now,” Stevens said.

Educators are also looking for outward signs such as crying or anger, in which case families and councilors will be notified.

“I think the thing that struck me later was you see smoke over there and you know the school is close, you don’t get a sense of what could be, some of the danger that lies beyond that,”  Trosien said.

Husky Refinery is providing counseling and mental health services for community members affected by the incident, especially children and the Husky employees and contractors.

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