Grief counselors to help Polk Co. students cope with loss of 6-year-old classmate found in pond

Adam Roach was reported missing. Polk County Sheriff's Office

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Grief Counselors will be available Tuesday at Dr. N. E. Roberts Elementary School, after a 6-year-old student was found dead Friday night.

Adam Roach was found in the pond directly behind his home at 10:40 p.m. by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office dive team, assisted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The search for Roach lasted almost seven hours. Sheriff K9 units and a helicopter were used.

Roach was found not far from his home.

“Little Adam was not 50 feet from the back door of his house in a lake, a retention pond if you will. It appears at this time, and this is all preliminary information at this time, that he walked out the front door and around the corner of his apartment complex and directly into the retention pond,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

Roach was hearing impaired and nonverbal. His principal, Timothy Warren says that makes telling his classmates that much harder.

“Adam was in a very small classroom. Some of those students will not be able to understand what happened to Adam. But, we will have student support as far as counselors provided by the District,” he said.

Warren says counselors will be available for any student or staff member who needs to talk.

“We don’t go and say someone has passed away and this, that and the other. We say, how many of you have lost a family member or a pet,” said Warren.

Polk County Schools Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd released the following statement over the weekend about Roach’s death:

Adam Roach was, as we say within the district, ‘one of ours.’ He had just completed kindergarten at Roberts Elementary, and faculty and staff at the school were looking forward to seeing him when school starts next week. He was a precious child lost much too soon, and we are all grieving. He and his family are in our prayers.”

Counselors will be at Roberts Elementary Tuesday and Thursday, the first day of school, for any students or staff that need someone to talk to.

The principal tells News Channel 8 they will be dedicating a tree and a plaque to Adam that will be displayed in the courtyard of the elementary school.

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