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Canton Central School rallies to help students process death of student

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CANTON — Grief counselors were called to assist Canton Central School students and staff dealing with the news that a student was found dead Sunday afternoon at his Riverside Drive home, according to village police.

School Superintendent William A. Gregory said information regarding the tragic death of Montanna Measheaw, a sophomore, was shared with students in grades seven to 12 during homeroom Monday so that all students were provided with the same information.

“The details of his death are unclear at this time,” Mr. Gregory said in a message posted Monday on the school’s Facebook page.

Village Police Chief Lori A. McDougal said the call came in about 3:45 p.m. Village Police Sgt. Basil W. Cheney responded to the teen’s home as well as Chief McDougal, SUNY Canton University Police and St. Lawrence County Coroner Joseph E. White.

“We are investigating this as a tragic death. There wasn’t any sign of foul play,” Chief McDougal said.

She said she believes the body was taken to Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Potsdam, where an autopsy may be conducted.

Mr. Gregory said two trained counselors from Hospice and Palliative Care of St. Lawrence Valley were called in to help the school community process the news.

Mary K. Jones, director of Hospice’s family support services, and Kay L. DePerno, bereavement coordinator, set up a crisis center in the high school library where many students took advantage of grief services, Mr. Gregory said.

High school students also gathered for a morning assembly in the auditorium where Ms. Jones and High School Principal Douglas Dominy discussed dealing with grief.

A follow-up faculty meeting was held to help prepare staff for helping students in the days ahead.

“A tragedy of this nature represents a dark moment in any community,” Mr. Gregory said in his Facebook post. “I am hopeful that our school community will come together to support the grieving family and friends of this young man. Our hearts and prayers are certainly with Montanna’s family and friends as they struggle with this tremendous loss.”

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