Principal comments on the state of students and staff at East Carteret High School

Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 9:15 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2022 at 9:18 PM EST
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CARTERET COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Tammy Mason’s daughter Sami is a student at East Carteret High School. Tammy Mason said when her daughter attends school these days, emotions are high.

“There’s a lot of shock, disbelief sadness. Of course, she has reported that the halls were eerily quiet,” Tammy Mason said.

Principal Jay Westbrook said the feeling starts once you enter the building.

These emotions come after Sunday’s plane crash that left eight people dead, four of whom used to walk ECHS’ halls.

“Whether you knew them personally or not, we’re such a close-knit community, we have some connection in some ways,” Mason said.

With a tragedy like this in such a tight-knit community like Down East, counselors say support will be needed now and in the future.

“This is not something that’s going to be over quickly. It’s going to be something that help is needed in the long term and so this may be weeks, months...” Keith Hamm, Integrated Family Services counselor said.

While time heals, Westbrook said he just doesn’t know how long it will take.

“As a principal right now, I have 539 kids. You come every day to serve them and losing four, it’s been tough,” Westbrook said.

Local pastors and mental health providers have been on campus since Monday morning to support kids who need it. The school system has said they will continue to offer those services as long as the need is there.

If students or anyone needs someone to talk to, they can visit Mobile Crisis Services. They are available 24/7.

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