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Parents worry after Lebanon 2nd grader died unexpectedly from illness

By Melody Pettit, Weekend Anchor, mpettit@kspr.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 11:13:10 AM CST
Updated On: Oct 21 2013 10:16:59 PM CDT

Lebanon student dies from appendicitis

LEBANON, Mo. -

According to his mother's Facebook page, the hospital sent Lebanon second grader Jesse James Andersen home with medicine just days before he died.

On October 15th, Amanda Anderson posted this to her Facebook page:  “They said he has a virus and sent him home with medicine for nausea that makes him throw up.”

School officials say Jesse died on October 18th.  Lebanon School District officials are waiting to find out exactly what caused Andersen to die unexpectedly. 

In a letter they sent home with students Friday, they say it was an unknown illness.  Some parents are concerned after reading that letter.

The letter went home with students of Maplecrest Elementary. It says, "As a precautionary measure, if your child has symptoms of illness, it is recommended that you consult your family physician."

Cindy Rockwell's daughter goes to that school.

“This time of the year, my daughter gets the sniffles, so when I read that letter, it's like, 'What should we do? Should we take her to the hospital?'  It was complete and utter shock,” she said.

Rockwell worries that whatever the second grader died from is still lurking somewhere on school grounds.  She is even considering keeping her daughter home on Monday.

“I don't want to, but we are considering it and so are several of our neighbors.  It's a big buzz here in Lebanon.  How concerned should we be?  That letter was so vague,” said Rockwell.

The Lebanon School District superintendent says the letter was purely precautionary. They don't know what caused the child's death and, until they learn what it was, parents should be extra vigilant of sickness.  The superintendent says the child who died had been home sick for a few days and died at a hospital in Springfield.

Sunday, school officials sent out this email message:

"Please join the Lebanon R-3 faculty and staff in sympathy and support for the family and friends of Maplecrest second grade student Jesse James Andersen who died Friday, October 18. Arrangements for Jesse James Anderson are incomplete at this time and will be announced by Holman Howe Funeral Homes.

"The health and well-being of students is our highest concern. Following the notification of Jesse's death, the District has been in contact with the Laclede County Health Department. The Health Department has received no report of infectious disease or a cause of death.  As a precaution, the District has sanitized all areas of Maplecrest School and the student's school bus.

"The District will inform parents immediately IF a report of infectious disease is received.  

"On Monday, Maplecrest teachers and district counselors will be available to support and comfort students as they grieve the loss of their classmate and friend. Please join us in keeping Jesse's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time."

Sunday night, the family of Jesse Andersen responded in a Facebook post: 

"My name is Mary Andersen and i was Jesse's auntie. He became ill Monday of last week and my sister, Amanda Andersen, took him to mercy E.R. in Lebanon and they said he had a viral infection. gave him meds for nausea and sent him home. they said if no signs of improvement in about 3 days bring him back. well he quit breathing thursday night and ultimately ended up on life support due to being in septic shock which caused his major organs to shut down and he passed at 10:21 a.m. on friday. the doctors think his bowels got twisted and ruptured but we haven't heard the autopsy results yet because we haven't even heard them yet so before anybody gets to worked up about there own children getting sick let us get the facts. and because i don't know the facts yet i don't want to speculate but lebanon gave one diagnosis and springfield a complete other. if i was a parent in lebanon right now i would not trust my child in mercy lebanon's care. that being said hug and kiss your kid's tonight because you don't know how long they'll be on this earth. thought i would have my precious jesse a lot longer"