NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) --After the sudden death of a fourth grade teacher in New London, parents, staff members and students are trying to carry on.
There is an early dismissal at Jennings School for a parent/teacher conference, but the shocking death of fourth grade teacher Brian Smith, 53, is on the minds of many.
His students had gone to art class Tuesday, and while they were gone Smith collapsed in his classroom. Smith died on the way to the hospital.
"The kids that were in his class were dropped off and then when they came back obviously he wasn't in the classroom anymore, just very very sad," said parent Jasmine Collins.
Smith had been a teacher for 30 years. He spent one of those years at Jennings. The principal said that he was quick, witty, and worked diligently. His wife told the principal he adored his class, and the students adored him.
"Mr. Smith. Like he was like a good teacher, he's always like fooling around with us, but then he knew how to get the job done," said Smith's former student Taki Abson.
Abson who is now in seventh grade had Mr. Smith as a teacher for reading.
"I was like kind of sad cause like sometimes after I was done with school I'd go over to the old Winthrop and say hi to him and everything," said Abson.
"He was a good teacher he was really nice. You know little kids they don't say too much. But when an adult is nice to them they appreciate that they'll pay attention in class," said grandparent Patti Booth.
Booth's grandsons had Mr. Smith as a teacher. She lives next door to Jennings School.
"I stand out here every day, I've seen a couple of kids crying," said Booth.
Crisis teams are working with the students and staff at Jennings as they deal with the loss of their teacher and friend.
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