LaBelle Middle School brings in grief counselors to help students

Sara Belsole

LaBelle Middle School brings in grief counselors to help students

CREATED Aug. 26, 2013 - UPDATED: Aug. 26, 2013

 LABELLE, Fla. - Zachary Renya is on life support after battling a brain-eating parasite for three weeks.

Students at his school, LaBelle Middle School, returned to school Monday for the firs time since hearing the news.

"It felt like, no body was acting the same, they were acting a little bit sad," eighth grader Clint Simmons said.

Simmons said the hallways aren't the same now that Reyna most likely won't recover.

"First I was heartbroken, then I was shocked, I couldn't believe it because I thought he was going to live," Simmons said.

Parents said they share the same feelings.

"A sad community, everyone is very sad today," Gloria Fairchid said.

In order to help Reyna's classmates with their grief, school officials say they have called in extra school counselors.

"We have also listed the aid of youth counselors at the various churches to come in and help our students deal with this terrible loss," Paul Puletti, Superintendent for Hendry County Schools, said.

Teachers have also designated the school library as the grief room for students who are feeling overwhelmed.

"The huge importance is to help them cope with the grieving process and come to closure with the grieving process and part of my job is to make sure things are as normal as possible," Puletti said.

Meanwhile, Reyna's classmates say he is still in their prayers.

"I would like to see a big prayer for the whole school," Simmons said.