NORTON SHORES, Mich. (WOOD) - A kindergartner collapsed and died on a school playground in Norton Shores Monday afternoon, not far from where his mother was volunteering for a school event.
The 6-year-old boy had stayed after morning kindergarten at Churchill Elementary School for his 5th-grade brother's field day. He collapsed around 1 p.m. on the playground.
His mother quickly arrived by his side.
Mona Shores Superintendent Dave Peden told 24 Hour News 8 that other parents -- nurses and doctors -- tended to the boy quickly while the AED was inside.
"My understanding is that they started CPR so fast that it would have taken longer to go and get that," said Peden.
Peden said an ambulance nearby arrived on the scene within minutes and took the boy to a local hospital, where he died.
"It's unbelievable. Shock. I don't know what other words to use," said Peden. "My heart breaks. I mean, I just can't fathom."
The school sent out email and phone messages to parents informing them of the death.
The e-mail, sent out by Churchill Elementary Principal Mark Platt, said the school's crisis team has activated and "discussed the necessary support and assistance that our stand and students will need in the days and weeks ahead."
The crisis team is made up of counselors and local religious leaders.
It also said that teachers and staff will be "closely monitoring the emotional needs of our students."
The cause of death is not yet known, Platt said in the email.
The messages also encouraged parents to talk with their children to help them process the death.
At its Monday night meet, the Mona Shores school board observed a moment of silence in honor of the child.
The next step in the district's response is up to Peden, who understands there's no explanation yet for grownups to grasp or students to see.
"We try to get our building through all of this tomorrow. Work with those children in the building and those families and support this family," said Peden.
Peden said helping the youngest students through the loss will be difficult.
"This is a morning kindergarten class that when they left, everybody was there," said Peden. "How do you explain that?"
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