Janiya Bennett Death – The authorities on Sunday, July 26, released the identity of a 10-year-old Janiya Bennett, of Sullivan who died at the Sullivan beach at Lake Shelbyville on Saturday, July 25.

According to Coles County Coroner Ed Schniers, Bennett was pronounced dead at 5:22 p.m. Saturday in the Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center Emergency Room after she was retrieved from the water by emergency responders.

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“It’s really a tragedy. The girl was only 10 years old,” says Schniers.

On the district’s Facebook page Sunday afternoon, Ted Walk, Sullivan schools Superintendent called it “a horrible tragedy.”

“The loss of a student is all of our biggest fears and the reality of this tragedy is setting in. As parents, the loss of another student or your child’s peer is not something most of us are prepared for,” says Walk.

The superintendent thanked all of the first responders, particularly the Sullivan Police Department, Sullivan Fire Department, Moultrie County Sheriff’s Office, Moultrie County Dive Team, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their immediate and professional efforts for all involved.

According to Walk, an area crisis team composed of local school psychologists, school social workers, and school counselors will be working with the district in the days to come to provide counseling and support services to students and any staff members that are in need. He said they hope to finalize and release details on Monday on how families can access these services once that plan is fully developed and will continue to assess the need for additional emotional support moving forward.

“Children grieve in a multitude of ways and in varied amounts of time. As we continue through this challenging process, please feel free to contact the school if you notice that your child is having difficulty,” says Walk.

“We will work together, as a team, to provide the needed support and care for your child.”

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