Superintendent Issues Letter To Community Following Overnight Death Of Chamisa Student

Los Alamos Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kurt Steinhaus has issued the following letter to the community following the overnight loss of a student:

By Dr. Kurt Steinhaus, Superintendent
Los Alamos Public Schools

Dear Los Alamos Community,

With a heavy heart, I am deeply sorry to share the news that Chamisa student Coltin Hansel died at 2:54 this morning due to a tragic accident. Coltin was in 4th grade.

We have reached out to Coltin’s family to offer assistance and communicate care and compassion during this very difficult time. They have given permission to send this message.  

The LAPS Leadership Team has developed and is implementing a care plan. Here is a brief summary of initial actions:

  • This morning began by greeting parents and briefing staff at Chamisa Elementary School.
  • Extra counselors and staff to help cover classes have been deployed to Chamisa and Piñon Elementary Schools.
  • At Chamisa, we have a room for students as well as a different room for anyone to come for additional support and counseling.
  • Since grief is very individual, we are prepared to assist in different ways and on an as needed basis.
  • Principal Craig Washnok and a school counselor met this morning with students in Coltin’s class.
  • With a focus on what is best for students and staff, we will continue to provide all of the support needed.

In acknowledging the whole situation, this news is very challenging for White Rock and the Los Alamos community. Here are a few quotes that may help:

“Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” Dalai Lama

“Compassion is about giving all the love that you’ve got.” Cheryl Strayed

I encourage you to talk with your children and allow them to share their feelings, draw a picture, or even write a story. Some of the resources sent last week may be useful over the coming days. Please feel free to call if you have any questions or just need to talk.


Kurt Steinhaus