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Crisis response team called to help students cope with death of classmate

By Jordan Moore, KTVM Reporter, jmoore@ktvm.com
Published On: Mar 17 2014 06:50:09 PM MDT
Updated On: Mar 17 2014 08:39:29 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Three Bozeman schools have made help available to students after a Bozeman High School student and his mother died in a crash on Friday.

James Grady Dawkins, 16, and his mother, 42-year-old Heather A. Ferguson were killed in that crash. Troopers tell us the 16-year-old driver, Grady's brother, was distracted. The driver and Grady's 11- and 13-year-old sisters were all treated for minor injuries. They have since been released from the hospital.

At Bozeman High, Monday was the first day students walked the hallways without their classmate, Grady Dawkins. A crisis response team of more than five counselors was brought in to the school to help students cope with the loss. Students we spoke to say it was a difficult day to walk through those front doors.

Baillee Schott is a junior at Bozeman high and spoke to us during her lunch break.

"He was just a really good friend of ours," said Schott.

She says now that Grady is gone, so is the upbeat attitude he carried with him in the hallways.

"Just dead, there is no mood here, I mean he was that light when he walked down the hallways, he would say 'hi' to everybody, we are kind of just missing our light now," said Schott.

Xanin Littlewolf is a freshman at Bozeman High who says he was good friends with Grady.

"I would always take the hall pass and walk around and say 'what's up' to him in science.  He was pretty chill, nice, and polite to everyone," said Littlewolf.

He says the mood is somber on this Monday at Bozeman High School, as many students are struggling with the loss of a friend and classmate.

"The mood is pretty heartbroken, everybody misses Grady," said Littlewolf.

We also spoke to Superintendent Rob Watson on Monday afternoon. He tells us after finding out about the accident, a crisis response team was put in place to help students cope.

"A caring attitude, worrying about how students are going to react, and what sort of support we can put in place," said Watson.

Students we spoke to on Monday tell us it is that help and support they appreciate on a difficult day like Monday.

"In first period we had a conversation of how we could go to a certain room if you couldn't handle the stress," said Littlewolf.

"We've got a good room going, a lot of people helping out and the counselors are really willing to talk to us," said Schott.

Watson also tells us they are taking the situation day by day, and will re-evaluate just how many counselors need to be on hand for students.

We also asked about memorial services for Grady. Watson says he knows they are in the process of being arranged, but details were limited as of Monday afternoon.