Jeanette McKee Elementary School still recovering after 2 students died in house fire

JEANNETTE, Pa. — Cards, hand-drawn pictures, flowers, and teddy bears greet you when you walk into Jeannette McKee Elementary School.

It’s where Kyson John and his younger sister, Kinzleigh, were in First Grade and Kindergarten. They died in a fire on Guy Street in Jeannette on March 20 along with two siblings and their father.

“It was probably the hardest time for me as a professional and definitely the hardest time for the kids,” said Principal James Raible.

On the day of the fire, and for a few days after, Raible said many students who were friends with Kyson and Kinzleigh sought help from the guidance counselors.

“You know, a six-year-old, a seven-year-old, to be able to stop and just say, ‘I’m not 100% certain how I feel or why I feel this way, but I know I don’t feel the way I normally do?’ I think it’s great that the kids are that in tune with their emotions,” Raible said.

The school will still have counselors on hand for the time being as a memorial next may bring back a lot of emotions.

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“We will have resources available, and we will keep those resources available as long as needed.”

The school is off for spring break until Wednesday.

But next Friday, April 5, the district is switching to virtual learning.

They want to let students and teachers attend the memorial without worrying about being in school.

“We didn’t want to run into an issue where families had to make a decision, ‘do I send my child to school, or do I let them go to that service?’” Raible said. “We often talk about ‘we are family, and we’re all that we’ve got so we do take care of each other,’ and that’s a point of pride.”

The memorial will be held at Word of Life Church starting at 10 a.m. A private ceremony for the family will follow.

The Jeannette School District also says it is in the early stages of planning a permanent memorial to be dedicated on the school campus.

Click here for other ways to help the family through different fundraisers and donations.

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