Rockford community members of all ages are impacted by the violent death of 8 year-old Thomas Kossow. The young child was stabbed multiple times outside his home Tuesday. Thomas' mother is in the Winnebago County Jail, charged with his murder.
We've talked to investigators and neighbors. Now, his school administrators are speaking out. After an event like this, Rockford Public Schools gathers a Crisis Team to support staff, students and community members. A team is helping out at Thomas' school, McIntosh Elementary. One district administrator says McIntosh was already in good hands.
"Considering this was such a horrible situation, the building handled it remarkably well. Instruction occurred as it should; the students were resilient and within a short period of time they were back to learning." -says RPS #205 Social Work Services Director & Crisis Team leader Alex Brewington.
McIntosh Elementary School Principal Al Gagliano describes Thomas as an excellent student, always aiming to please others. Teachers and administrators are hurting, but Gagliano says even in the most devastating circumstances his staff members present a strong and united front.
"I know [Thomas'] classroom teacher held it up in class yesterday and was fine even after the staff meeting, but then on the way home she told me she broke down. So, we've learned to take those situations and address them personally; outside the classroom or the school." -he says.
Brewington says her group of psychologists, social workers and counselors will continue to help McIntosh and District #205 heal.
"It wasn't going to end with [Tuesday.] If Mr. Gagliano needs me beyond today or our team, he has my cell phone number and can call me 24/7." -she adds.
Principal Gagliano says the school is working on future plans to memorialize Thomas' life. The memorial that started as one teddy bear outside his home on Woodrow Street continues to grow.
Thomas' mother's bond has been set at $2 million. She'll appear in court October 10th.
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