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Classmates remember fellow student killed in shooting

Brian Bartlett
Posted at 5:55 PM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 20:41:13-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Center School District students are back in school, but one 4th-grade class is dealing with the loss of a classmate.

Sunday morning, Brian Bartlett, 8, was shot and killed while sleeping in his south Kansas City home in the 8300 block of Tracy Avenue.

District spokesperson Christina Medina said Thursday counselors have been on-site to help students, staff and parents through the recent tragedy.

Lisa Farmer is one of the counselors working with the school district and answering the tough questions.

"If they're old enough to ask the questions, they're old enough to have an honest answer," Farmer said.

Farmer works for Kansas City Hospice and Solace House. The organization has partnered with the Center School District and will be in and out of school buildings providing help when needed. Other organizations around the metro have also stepped in.

"When people come to you instead, you feel more supported and that's one of the goals that we have is to make sure that everyone is working as a team and we're all doing what we can to help a family," Michelle Metje, President of Corey's Network, said.

Metje is the co-founder of Corey's Network, an organization that helps families with funeral costs. They also host weekly workshops to help grieving families.

"When we talk about how to move forward, there's never ever any moving on, there's never any closure, because somebody is dead," Metje said.

While Corey's Network is focused on helping Bartlett's immediate family, Solace House is hoping to heal his school family.

"The sooner that you're able to figure out how to communicate openly and honestly with them about this, and help them to develop some skills to cope with not just grief, but other tragedies and traumas that occur in life, the stronger they'll be and the better they'll be able to cope with the unpredictability of life," Farmer said.

When it comes to talking with young children about gun violence and death, Solace House said it's best to be open and honest with kids, but keep details and images to a minimum.