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Whiteland Community High School student dies after medical emergency

WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) — A student at Whiteland Community High School died Tuesday morning after being pulled from the school swimming pool, the Johnson County coroner confirmed.

The coroner says the girl was 15 years old. A medical exam was scheduled for Wednesday to determine the cause of death.

Classes at Whiteland Community High School were dismissed at 1 p.m. Tuesday. The high school has canceled classes Wednesday, the district’s communication director said in a statement to the Clark-Pleasant community:

“We are writing to follow up on the tragic accident that occurred today at Whiteland Community High School that resulted in a drowning in the pool during physical education class.  Despite the efforts of our staff and emergency responders, the student has passed away. The specific cause and circumstances surrounding this tragedy are not yet known, and a thorough investigation will take place.

“Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with Alaina’s family and friends during this incredibly difficult time. We understand that this news is profoundly upsetting for our entire school community, and we are here to support our students, staff, and families as we grieve together.

“Our behavioral health team is working with our students and staff to ensure our entire school family is supported. Our school corporation has resources available to anyone in need and we are here to assist with any situation. Please know that counselors will be available to meet with students and staff now and in the coming days. If your child needs assistance dealing with this death, please contact a counselor. As this news is being reported via news outlets it is important that parents debrief these situations at home with your child. To help you navigate these difficult conversations at home, you can visit the resource linked below. 

Grief Resources for Families

“Classes have been canceled for students at WCHS for Wednesday, May 17, 2023; staff will report to WCHS in order to plan for the students’ return on Thursday.  When school resumes on Thursday we will have significant resources available to help our students and staff process this difficult loss. 

“While all other schools in the district will be in session on Wednesday, counselors will be available to provide support and assistance to our staff and students. In the meantime, we ask that we come together as a community to support one another during this difficult time.”

Rick Hightower, communications director, Clark-Pleasant Community School Corp.

In a letter to parents, Clark-Pleasant Community School Corp. wrote:

“It is with a heavy heart that we inform you about the tragic loss of one of our Whiteland High School students, who passed away at school due to a medical emergency today.

“Words fall short in expressing the grief and sorrow our entire school community is experiencing at this moment. 

“Please know that counselors are available to assist any students who may need support. They are here to provide assistance to anyone who needs a safe space to process their emotions and feelings. Do not hesitate to visit the counseling office at any time. 

“We will share information on memorial services once they are available. In the meantime, please join us in keeping the student and their family and friends in your thoughts. 

“Thank you for our understanding, empathy, and support during this incredibly difficult time.”

Whiteland Community High School had 2,012 students in grades 9-12 on Oct. 1, according to data from the Indiana Department of Education.