School district offers counseling outreach following death of FCMS eighth grader

by Sean Dunlap

The death of an eighth grade Franklin County Middle School student — Landen Harris — on Friday, Jan. 20 has stunned the community and prompted the local school district to act in helping those dealing with and trying to process the loss.

On Saturday morning, Franklin County Superintendent of Education Chris Kent released a statement noting the student’s death would create a mix of emotions, concerns and questions — especially among Harris’ classmates and other students.

“The Franklin County School District has a ‘Crisis Intervention Team’ made up of professionals trained to help with the needs of students, parents and school personnel at difficult times such as this,” Kent wrote.

“At Franklin County Middle School, we have counselors and community ministers available for any student who might need or want help or any type of assistance surrounding this loss. We encourage you, as parents, to also feel free to use our resources.”

For those seeking assistance, contact FCMS Counseling Services at 601-384-2441.

“We are saddened by the loss to our school community and will make every effort to help you and your child as needed,” Kent went on to write. “We also ask for your support, as our community, through prayers.”

Harris had most recently taken part in the FCMS boys’ basketball program.

Word of Harris’ death swept through the Franklin County High School gymnasium on Friday night as many had gathered for the varsity basketball game between the Bulldogs and Port Gibson Blue Waves.

Basketball players and coaches were told of Harris’ passing after the hoops contests.

Somber emotions flowed from students, teachers, coaches, support staff and families in attendance with many openly embracing one another after receiving the news and many others were seen crying.