Counseling services available after two Gahanna students die in weekend accident

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
A car is submerged in the water after it jumped a barrier wall on the entrance ramp from Dublin Road to 670 Eastbound in Columbus, Ohio on February 6, 2021. Two people involved in the accident were pronounced dead, two others are being treated at local hospitals.

Counseling services will be available all week at the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools after an auto accident Feb. 6 resulted in the the deaths of Gahanna Lincoln High School and Gahanna Middle School East students.

Superintendent Steve Barrett sent a letter to district families and staff Feb. 7, saying he was saddened to share information about a terrible auto accident Saturday evening, Feb. 6, involving a district family.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the passing of GLHS student Feixiang Friend and GMSE student Joshua Friend as a result of that accident,” he wrote. “We extend our sincere sympathies to the Friend family, their friends and loved ones.”

“This is a difficult time for our school community,” Barrett said. “We will ensure counselors are available throughout the week to provide support for our students, teachers and staff.  We are providing counselors in each of Feixiang and Joshua's classes on Tuesday (hybrid gold) so their classmates may share and grieve together.”

For students who aren’t scheduled to be in school on Monday (Feb. 8), he said, the district invites students to buildings if they need support from the mental-health team. 

“We will also have virtual office hours for counseling services as needed,” Barrett said. “Students can join a Google Meet with a district counselor during school hours. For after-school support, please contact the ​Safe Schools Hotline​ (1-800-418-6423 ext. 359).”

As The Columbus Dispatch reported, the crash occurred about 5:10 p.m. Feb. 6, when the driver of a 2002 Ford F-150 with three passengers – all members of a family from Blacklick – lost control of the truck on a patch of ice, Columbus police said. The vehicle went over a concrete retaining wall on the south side of the ramp from Dublin Road to I-670 eastbound, rolled down an embankment and came to rest upside down in the Scioto River.

Read The Columbus Dispatch's full story.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla