Walton community mourns death of kindergarten student

WALTON, Kan. (KWCH) The Walton Rural Life Center is mourning the death of one of its students, the second tragedy in the community in as many months.

In a note to parents on Friday, the school said the student was in kindergarten and additional support social workers would on hand to support the Walton students and staff.

"This tragic event has affected the entire school," said the elementary school. "Students have been notified this morning and we wanted you to be informed so you can discuss it with your students."

Eyewitness News has reached out to the district and the Harvey County Health Department to see if any other details about the child's death could be released.

While information is limited, what we do know is that the small town north of Newton has been shaken by tragedy twice within the past 30 days.

An 11-year-old boy with ties to Walton Rural Life Center died in his sleep on Dec. 28.

Parents who spoke with Eyewitness News Friday were visibly upset and did not wish to go on camera. Shantel Westbrook, director of services for COMCARE of Sedgwick County says parents and their children should start talking about how they're feeling now.

She says it's important for them to be able to be open about how they're feeling and for parents to be able to give their children information to help them process what happened and how they feel about it.

"Acknowledging that it's going to be rough for awhile, (and) it's going to take time to work through it, process through it, let the emotions kind of play out," Westbrook says.

Westrbook emphasizes that it's okay to feel sad as expressing how you're feeling in situations like this is better for you than trying to suppress those feelings.

"Having a flood of emotions that you normally may not have and being accepting of that, being willing to kind of just let that be, really using the resources that are available, being willing to connect with friends and family and community, staying close and reaching out, not isolating. Those are things that can really make a difference, " she says.