Students grieve ninth-grader’s death

Students grieve ninth-grader’s death

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Port Jefferson High School. File photo by Elana Glowatz

Port Jefferson students lost a young classmate on Wednesday night, according to a message from the school district superintendent.

In a letter to parents and community members on Thursday, Ken Bossert wrote that ninth-grader Dylan Berger had died, and asked people to respect the privacy of Dylan’s family as they grieved his loss.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time,” the superintendent wrote.

It was not immediately clear how the student died.

Dylan was on the Royals wrestling team, competing at the Suffolk County championship this year.

According to Bossert, the school district held a meeting for the students in Dylan’s grade on Thursday morning and is making counselors available to students to help them “cope with this tragedy.”

“Each student is a value member of our educational community and the death of a young person can have a profound effect on the entire school community,” Bossert wrote. “When such loss occurs, students and staff will react in different ways. Any reaction is normal in the grief process and can range from withdrawal to anger. I encourage you to speak with your children about how they are feeling and how to cope with the loss of a classmate. The most important thing we can do is to be supportive and encourage an open expression of feelings.”

The district also plans to provide resources to parents to help support grieving students, he said.