Friends React To Sevier Co. Teen's Death

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Sevier County (WVLT) A tough day back in class for students at Sevier County High School.

17 year old Jameson McMichael drowned in Douglas Lake on Sunday.

McMichael was a wrestler at the school.

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb has more on how its been a tough time for parents talking to their sons and daughters.

And why some are wondering if low water levels played a part.

In talking with a student who graduated last year, this has been a tough loss for the students at Sevier County High School.

She says this is the fifth death of a student or recent graduate in the last three years.

TVA officials say 17 year old Jameson McMichael died during a swimming accident while jumping off a rock near Allensville Road with two other swimmers.

Howard Stutzman, son was friends with McMichael says, "you hit something or hit the bottom you might not come back up."

Stutzman says his son Jake was also there swimming and aided in the recovery of McMichael.

He says the low water levels have had him worried about his son swimming there.

"He said he don't dive off there, he just goes swimming but you never know when they get out there by themselves."

A popular wrestler at Sevier County High school, McMichael's death prompted school officials to bring in counselors to the school Tuesday.

Some parents say it's been upsetting for their kids.

Michele Maples, son concerned about death says, "he was upset. He obviously has classes with him and sat very close to him. In fact, they arm-wrestled a lot."

Christy Parton, son is upset over the death says, "he was a little distressed about it. He just said he couldn't believe actually someone that was close to his age had died."

But the parents say they helped their children cope with the loss of McMichael.

Some said it was best they just listened.

Maples continues, "he just wanted to talk about some of the experiences the he and the young man had together."

While others said they also let the kids just discuss what had happened and grieve on their own.

Parton continues, "he's been quiet all weekend. Jake came over to the house last night and they went to the fair and I heard him and Jake talking about it."

Funeral arrangements for McMichael have now been completed and the family will receive family and friends from 6 to 8 p.M. Thursday.

Visitation will be held at Atchley Funeral home on Dolly Parton Parkway in Sevierville.

Officials say funeral services will be private.

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