⬛ The students died in Wall and Brick townships

⬛ The causes of death were not disclosed by the districts

⬛ The districts are offering grief support for students and staff


Students from two Jersey Shore middle schools died during the weekend.

Wall superintendent Tracy Handerhan said online that Laila Orjuela, an 8th grader at the Wall Intermediate School,  died “unexpectedly” over the weekend. Handerhan's letter did not disclose details about the circumstances except to say there had been a "medical occurrence."

Susan McNamara, a spokeswoman for the Brick School District, confirmed the death of a boy who attends the Lake Riviera Middle School. She did not disclose his identity.

“The school is grieving. We have a lot of staff and kids who loved him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” McNamara told New Jersey 101.5.

The Traumatic Loss Coalition and school counselors are available at the school on Monday for students.

Public concern in Wall

In a separate letter, Wall Board of Education president Christine Steitz cautioned the public to be mindful of what is written on social media.

"We understand the need for many to mount a response signifying sympathy and support for her memory, however, we must remind the public that the district will be following a well-constructed crisis response plan that addresses this tremendous loss with the health of fellow students," Steitz said.

A GoFundMe page to assist the family said Laila has a 10-year-old brother.

"As expected the family is not prepared for all that is happening at this time. Losing a loved one is always difficult, but coping with a sudden unimaginable loss of a young child adds a different element to the grieving process," the fundraising page says.

Laila Orjuela
Laila Orjuela (Rita Spader)
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