Barren County schools mourning loss of music teacher

Kentucky State Police release details about a two-vehicle collision involving a Hart County School bus and a beloved Barren Co. teacher.
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 5:44 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Kentucky State Police have released details about a two-vehicle collision involving a Hart County School bus on Friday, Jan. 6.

A treasured member of Barren County schools died in that crash.

“We were saddened to hear that we lost one of our very own,” said Barren County Schools District Counselor Chele Gillon. “Elementary music teacher Robin Rutledge was in a car accident, and she died as a result of her injuries to that accident.”

Gillon said after hearing the news, the district jumped into action.

“We were able to get a letter together and send a letter out electronically to the parents and caregivers with resources on how to talk to your child about grief and what happens when we lose somebody to death,” Gillon said.

The district also worked to provide help for faculty and students within Rutledge’s school, North Jackson Elementary.

“We have a district Crisis Intervention Team,” Gillon said. “We have school counselors at North Jackson Elementary, as well as other school counselors in our district that are available to come and to offer grief support for our kids and also for staff.”

When it comes to talking with children about death and explaining the situation, Gillion says, it’s essential, to be honest.

“It’s important to just be very real with them as well. We don’t want to share too many details, because little ones don’t need to know all of the details in situations,” Gillon said. “Just letting them know the truth and be open to listening to what they have to say about that.”

Gillion also said she’s grateful for the outpouring of support from the community.

“We have heard from districts across the state and we are so grateful for that support not only just here locally, but from regionally and statewide,” Gillon said. “We cannot express enough our gratitude for all of that here in Barren County.”

North Jackson Elementary asked that the media not be on the property to help the grieving process.

The district says they are working on plans for a memorial at this time, but are waiting to discuss plans with Rutledge’s family before proceeding.