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“Students are upset:” Union Grove H.S. offers counseling in wake of student’s death

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UNION GROVE -- Union Grove High School had counselors on hand Thursday, September 21st after one of the school's students was found dead in a pond on Wednesday.

"A lot of students are upset. Guidance has been open all day, and students are coming in groups of two, three, four," said Alan Mollerskov, Union Grove District Administrator.

Austin Sanders

Around noon on Wednesday, the Racine County Sheriff's Office was called out to a pond in the Town of Dover. Once on the scene, they found the body of 15-year-old Austin Sanders.

"We met with our staff after school and they received an announcement to read this morning, but social media being what it is - probably most of the kids knew before they got here," Mollerskov said.

Early Thursday afternoon, Pauline Sanders, the boy's mother, made an appearance in court after her arrest on Wednesday. She was charged with numerous counts of bail jumping and intentionally abusing hazardous materials. According to a criminal complaint, Sanders was "huffing" from aerosol cans which led to a confrontation with her son. Sanders told investigators that Austin went fishing after the argument and that was the last time she saw him alive.

The circumstances surrounding Austin's death are still unclear. But it is not being ruled as a suspicious death at this time. Authorities say Pauline Sanders has been cooperating with the investigation.

Pauline Sanders

Alan Mollerskov, Union Grove District Administrator

"We had a counselor in every room that Austin would have been in for those classes," Mollerskov said.

Friday is the big homecoming game for the Union Grove Broncos. Staff said things will move forward as planned, but will most likely have a somber tone to them.

"I don't think it's ever easy when a young person passes away because you'll think of all the things they'll miss out on, and their family will miss out with them. So it's never easy," Mollerskov said.

Again, it's not clear how Austin ended up in the pond. A tackle box was found close to where his body was found. Those who knew Austin say they are waiting on the toxicology report to get more answers.

Union Grove High School