The Main Stream

Apr 23, 2012 7:28 PM

School offers counseling to Isabel's classmates

TUCSON - Crisis counselors were deployed to Academy of Tucson Monday where Isabel Celis is enrolled as a first-grader.

The 6-year-old was reported missing from her east side home Saturday morning.

Cynthia Dowdell leads a critical incident management stress team and said, "this is a very frightening situation for children because they don't know the circumstances of what's taken place and so there is a lot of fear."

Isabel's disappearance is being described as a high emotion situation that needs to be stabilized and though, a difficult time, would require that students continue to focus on their studies, "I think that parents and children think, 'Could this happen to me? Could this happen to our family?' It heightens people's awareness."

Dowdell said it is normal for children to ask questions about Isabel's disappearance that's why counselors would be made available. The students would be given the opportunity to express their emotions and, with counselors, and come up with a plan for coping. However, parents would need to watch their child's behaviors, "children can be very irritable and also take out some of that irritability and fear. And sometimes fear looks like anger and they can take that anger out on their parents as well."

A press release issued Sunday night by Academy of Tucson said Isabel had other family members attending their middle and high schools and that counselors were going to be available for students at the middle school.

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