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Students, staff mourning Fulton teacher who died on campus

By Shaddi Abusaid, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

#atlanta-ga (CNT) City News And Talk

A music teacher at an elementary school in South Fulton died on campus Friday, district officials said.

In a statement, Fulton County Schools said Derek Cleveland died at Randolph Elementary. His cause of death has not been determined.

“It greatly saddens me to announce that Mr. Cleveland, our beloved music teacher, has died unexpectedly,” principal Marissa Wilson wrote in a letter to parents. “Mr. Cleveland has been a part of the Randolph school community for many years and was a beloved teacher and colleague.”

The letter said students could react to news of the teacher’s death in a variety of ways depending on their age, how well they knew Cleveland and their previous experience with grief.

“There are times when it is necessary to communicate news that is painful for all of us,” the letter read. “During those times, we must be prepared to support each other and our students as we deal with the many feelings that we begin to experience.”

A team of grief counselors, social workers and psychologists will be available next week to assist staff and students struggling with Cleveland’s death, the school said.

The district is expected to return to full-time, face-to-face instruction on Wednesday, but parents have the option to continue remote learning for their children.