‘JJ was such a light’: Mason community mourns third-grader who died suddenly

Mason Schools and the community mourned the unexpected passing of a beloved third grader during the weekend.

Thousands of students did so this week by wearing his favorite color of blue and decorating classrooms with the color in remembrance of the popular boy.

JJ Day died Saturday, said Mason School officials. Monday saw grief counselors made available at Mason Elementary, Mason Intermediate and Mason Middle School buildings, which have adjacent campuses.

“JJ was such a light - his smile literally lit up a room,” said Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for the district told the Journal-News Monday.

“He went to Mason since he was three, as a preschooler, and to a one, all of his teachers share how funny and kind he was, and how grateful they are for the gift of being his teacher. JJ was a great friend who loved the color blue, soccer, and adored his older sisters.”

No cause of death has been publicly announced.

Officials from the Warren County Coroner’s office said Tuesday they are conducting an autopsy but that preliminary examination has shown no evidence of foul play.

Officials at the school system worked during the weekend to meet the mental health and emotional needs of grieving students and school staffers.

“On Saturday, our mental wellness coordinator Nicole Pfirman and Superintendent Jonathan Cooper were able to connect with the family, and the team helped provide grief counseling, wrap-around support for the family, and therapeutic support for JJ’s sisters,” said Carson.

“On Sunday, our crisis team – consisting of 30 Mason school counselors, psychologists, clinical psychologists, mental wellness coordinators along with Cincinnati Childrens’ therapists - met to create the plan for (Monday).

“The team met with all Mason Elementary School staff and gave teachers a script to go over with their students. We had four comfort rooms on campus - staffed by clinical therapists and school counselors, and nine therapy dogs. And in the comfort rooms, we had memory activities and opportunities to process grief with a therapist.”

Carson said in classrooms students “engaged in memory activities with chain links and blue hearts of memories of JJ, which will be hung throughout the school.”

The district’s crisis team will be available to students and staffers through the week, she said.

About the Author