CCPS Offers Grief Counseling in Wake of Accident

Clarke County High School will be open from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm on Tuesday, June 22 with counselors present, administrators, and staff to meet with students and staff to provide support on an as needed basis in light of the tragic accident that took the life of Aaron Shirley and injured two other students on June 19.

Aaron Benjamin Shirley - Photo courtesy Enders Shirley Funeral Home

In a message to staff and the CCPS community CCHS principal Dr. John Werner said “A tragedy such as this can stir many emotions and a deep sense of loss. Students and staff will react in different ways to the death of Aaron. It is important to understand that reactions to what has occurred can be different; people deal with grief in various ways. The most important thing we can do is to be supportive and encourage an open expression of feelings and emotions.”

Werner’s message was sent to over 800 recipients through the CCPS Alert-Now phone message system yesterday at 5:00 pm.

“In closing, Aaron was a great student who had a promising future. Events such as this are truly sad. My hope is to never have to write an email correspondence such as this again. Our students, staff, and community are resilient but for now our prayers and support should rally around the family of Aaron and the support needed for all who knew him.” Werner said.

Last night’s Clarke County School Board meeting opened with a moment of silence in memory of Aaron Shirley, a rising senior at Clarke County High School.


  1. Good Mornig. I was glad to read that counseling will be provided today to the Clarke County youth. Our heats and prayers again go out to the Shirley Family,to all other families involved, and to all in Clarke County, and in the surrounding communities. I hope the counselors can help the youth deal with their lost, their emotions, their fears, their anxiety, their gulit, and their thoughts. I grew up in Millwood and I know the closeness of the Clarke County area and how this has impacted numerous lives/families and the entire communities. My heart and Prayers go out to the Shirley Family and all other families involved. We will keep you in our prayers forever. We are family of the driver. Again, we are so sorry.

  2. Mary Nalls says:

    Prayer is a rising up and a drawing near to God in mind, and in heart, and in spirit.

    As breath is to the body, prayer is to the soul.

    My prayer is that in times of sorrow that we all remember the power of prayer. May all friends , families and teens come together at this time for moral support. Not gossip. May we all feel blessed to have known Aaron. may all adults take in to mind this was a terrible tradgedy and we need to learn from it. We need to reach out to our youth and listen to what they are saying. Give them a hug. Tell them you love them……….Amen

    • Beautiful, Mary. Thank you for your prayers for this community.

    • Jeane Cromer says:

      “may all adults take in to mind this was a terrible tradgedy and we need to learn from it. We need to reach out to our youth and LISTEN to what they are saying. Give them a hug. Tell them you love them”

      So beautifully said, Mary. I hope as well that all children and adults will reflect, learn, and most importantly lend support to those most in need. A hug, not gossip, goes a very long way to healing.

      Again, beautifully written thoughts to and for our community.

      • L Wallace says:

        Nicely said. It’s so nice to see people lifting families up in such a tough time of need. Yes, a hug does go a LONG way!

        • Right Winger says:

          Parents should take their kids to the Waterloo Service Station where the truck from the accident is sitting. Hug them, show them what happens when you drink and drive.

          I think the truck should then be moved to the front of the High School to serve as a reminder to what can happen when you choose to drink and drive.

          • Mayor Quinsby says:

            Great idea!! We could mount the car, like a U.S. open trophy, and bronze it.
            Then, anytime a student dies in a car accident, we can add their name to the
            gold placard with vital stats i.e. age, driver or passenger, drinking or not,
            ect. It’ll be sight for sore eyes!

  3. nancy martin says:

    I am wondering about the logic and practical applications of this event. There was a party of underaged drinkers ( not uncommon). Police caught wind of it. Also not uncommon. Illegal, uncomfortable and leading to no good. We’re all on the same page here, right? The police go to break up the party…still on this page? And what do they do? Break up the party! So the party disperses. How do they disperse? They get in cars and trucks. Stuff themselves in where they don’t all fit and sit in the back, apparently legally. Great, party dispersed. And one of ours dies. So the party is over, in a major way. I am not blaming the police.
    I am positive they are doing what they are informed to do with compassion. But we need to think about this – seriously. You walk into a a party of drunk under aged drinkers and tell them to hit the road? This is every parents worst nightmare…
    How about we take the keys, the alcohol and say NOBODY IS LEAVING TILL TOMORROW. In deed, as Mr. Werner said, let’s let this horrific event be instructive. Let’s look at the way we put our kids on the road, in all their various states.
    In mourning,

    • Right Winger says:

      The problem was that kids chose to get in the truck with somebody who had been drinking. That never should have happened. If you need a ride home, get it from someone sober, even if it means calling your mom or dad in the middle of the night when they think you’re in your bed asleep.

    • Clarke Daily News says:

      As of June 24, 2010, the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office says that it has no knowledge of any contact with the individuals involved in the June 18, 2010 Summit Point Road traffic accident prior to the occurrence of the accident. According to Chief Deputy Mike McWilliams the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office has a “zero tolerance” policy for drug or alcohol use by minors. Deputy McWilliams said that underage substance abuse violators are held by the Sheriff’s Office until a parent or legal guardian is available to take custody.

      The Berryville Police, as well, report that they are unaware of any contact prior to the accident:

      “I would just like to personally acknowledge that no member of the Berryville Police Department had contact with these juveniles on the night of the crash, nor was the BPD called to investigate any complaints of underage drinking in the Town on the night in question. I would also like to mirror the comments of Chief Deputy McWilliams and make it known that the BPD also has a zero tolerance policy in regards to minors under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Minors are detained by the department until they can be transferred to the care of a parent or legal guardian. Thanks.

      Neal White, Berryville Chief of Police


      • Right Winger says:

        If the kids want to act like adults and drink, then start treating them like adults when they get caught.

        Names please.

    • Travis Goodwin says:

      What about the folks who hosted the party? Families all around this county (and the town of Berryville) are likewise guilty of hosting parties where underage drinkers hang out…be it in a field, or a home, or up on the AT, it’s still illegal. Sad, but it’s a reputation this community has earned – teens are enabled to drink, and folks just turn a blind eye to it.

      • You assume (which seems to be a chronic problem in this thread) that it was a hosted party. Field parties are typically impromptu and opportunistic. An empty field, off the beaten path often represents an opportunity to gather and engage in all manner of bad behavior.
        It’s a terrible thing but instead of pointing fingers, shouldn’t we address the root problem that there is absolutely nothing for young people to do in this county? Nowhere safe to gather or hang out?

        Personal accountability is a given, but beyond that if they have nowhere to go they will find a place on their own.

        • Lonnie Bishop says:

          OK…so they’re trespassing? Owners of those fields have no idea who’s traipsing on their property? Really? They’re not still liable?

          Teens will drink, if they think they won’t get caught (or ratted out) by their friends or adults in the know. The culture needs to change to get them to see that drinking, and driving, doesn’t need to occur for them to be “cool.”

          You are right about the lack of positive events for them, particularly once school is out. That’s where parents need to step up.

          • Almost certainly trespassing. And as far as people being aware, I think that the realities of farming may be escaping you. This time of year in particular when farms are making hay, on fields that may or may not be in the proximity of residences, there is a lot of traffic in and out of fields. This makes it particularly easy to miss small incursions from trespassing party goers. Evidence is usually in the aftermath as trash left behind. Add that to the appeal of a freshly groomed pasture from cutting hay and you have a tacit invitation youth find hard to resist.

            Liability? Who knows? Never the less, to assume farmers sit at the gates of every field in their stewardship is a little simplistic.

          • Lonnie Bishop says:

            Not trying to be simplistic. Merely commenting on something that CC is well known for – field parties attended, @ night, by large numbers of teens and adults. Same for the “party houses” in town. Too many folks look the other way, which gives an implied “OK” to those goings-on.

          • Very true indeed.