Students and faculty mourn loss of schoolmate, student

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

Life goes on for faculty and students at Dallas County High School, despite the tragic loss of 15-year-old student Justin Harvell.

Harvell, a Valley Grande resident, was shot and killed Friday morning with what police officials believe to be a high-powered rifle.

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Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman said his department has not determined whether Harvell’s death was intentional or accidental.

Huffman said the department is still interviewing witnesses.

DCHS will dismiss classes at 12:30 p.m. today so faculty and students may attend Harvell’s 2 p.m. funeral service at Ocmulgee Baptist Church.

DCHS Principal Susan Jones said counselors are available to help students cope with Harvell’s death. Counseling started at the school Monday with a full staff.

William Powell, DCHS guidance counselor, said the school has formed a “crisis management team” for students. The team is comprised of counselors from surrounding schools within the DCHS zone.

Powell said students seem to be handling the loss well.

“So far, so good,” he said. “If they need us, we are here.”

Powell has reviewed the five stages of grief with students: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Powell said the last stage, acceptance, may be the most difficult for students, especially with today’s funeral.

“Closure comes with the funeral,” Powell said.

Harvell will be laid to rest at the Ocmulgee Baptist Church cemetery.