Counselors offer support at Upper Marlboro high school after 2 students violently killed

A support team of school psychologists and counselors are helping grieving students at an Upper Marlboro high school cope with the loss of two of their classmates who both died violently over the last week.

The deaths of Michael Nwaulu, a 12th grade student at Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High School who was shot and killed last Thursday, and 18-year-old Cayliy Haygood who died in a car crash Tuesday while headed to class, have rattled the community.

In a letter to families, principal Taryn Washington said the support would be available as long as necessary.

Nwaulu and another teen were shot around 8:40 p.m. on March 2 in the 9600 block of Parkstone Drive. The second victim remains hospitalized. Nwaulu died at the scene.

"We will remember his easygoing and carefree attitude," Washington said about Nwaulu in a letter home to the school community. Police have released very little information about the killing. They say they are still working to identify suspects.

18-year-old Cayliy Haygood died in a crash Tuesday morning less than a mile from campus. She and her boyfriend were in a car that crashed into a landscaping trailer on Ritchie Marlboro Road near Marlboro Pointe Drive. The boyfriend was behind the wheel and remains hospitalized. Haygood died at the scene.

Washington offered these suggestions for coping with grief:

- Speak to your child regarding the crisis and provide them with accurate information regarding the crisis in language they can understand. It is important to listen carefully to your child and show them that you understand their thoughts and feelings.

- Give additional affection in the form of hugs and other physical contact.

- Spend additional individualized time with your child. Try to structure your time with them by playing games, having discussions and going places. Focus your attention on your child.

- Encourage your child to share their feelings.

- Write a card, letter or draw a picture.

- Ask your child how they are coping even though children often respond, "I am fine." The fact that you ask will most likely be important to your child, even though they may not share or show their feelings at this time.

Both the shooting and the crash remain under investigation.

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