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Student Suicides 2006: Vol. 95

Student Suicides - 2006SAFER SCHOOLS NEWS-VOL. 95

Student Suicides

2006

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The Year 2006 has started with violence in the news. Violence toward self is not as widely reported, but is ever present. Schools and those who work daily with young people need to increase vigilance in seeing and helping those who are hurting so much that suicide seems to be a good choice.


In Florida a student pointed a pellet pistol at a police officer and effected his own death in what is now called, “Suicide by Cop.” Much less air and press time was given to a number of other school students who died in a brief two week period in January and February. Here are a few that made at least local news:

January 22, 2006 was a Sunday night that found a group of high school students in Massachusetts gathered in back of a middle school for an informal party of using alcohol and prescription drugs known as K-pins. The next day one of the party was hospitalized and another failed to show up for school. Someone called 911 from his parents home Monday afternoon and reported that he had shot and killed himself. He was extremely popular and a talented athlete. Everyone in the community was shaken. The school provided grief counseling to over 400 students in the days following the incident. A crackdown on drug trafficking in the school has resulted in the arrests of an 18 and a 16 year-old students.

On January 30, 2006 a 16 year-old junior exited the busand entered his high school in Montana as he had done everyday. This day, however, he went immediately to the restroom where his Principal was standing just outside the door. With no sign of hesitation, he entered the restroom. Moments later the Principal was startled by a loud gunshot from inside the restroom. He rushed in and found his student dead of a single self-inflicted gunshot wound. The school was placed in “lock-down” status. Police and emergency responders poured into the school. Shock, disbelief and concern swept the school and the entire community.

Two days later on February 1, in Ohio, a 17 year-old junior walked into a restroom shortly after arriving at school and hanged himself. A fellow student entered the restroom and found the body of his classmate. The school was placed in “lock down” while paramedics worked on the young man and eventually took him away. The school brought in its Emergency Response Intervention Team to provide counseling services as needed. The student was reported be well liked and friendly.

A week later on February 8, in another community in Ohio, a 10 year-old took his own life with a single gunshot. While the suicide happened at home, the death has touched the other students in the area. The school system has responded with their Crisis Intervention Team to meet the needs of the students there.

January 22, 2006 was a Sunday night that found a group of high school students in Massachusetts gathered in back of a middle school for an informal party of using alcohol and prescription drugs known as K-pins. The next day one of the party was hospitalized and another failed to show up for school. Someone called 911 from his parents home Monday afternoon and reported that he had shot and killed himself. He was extremely popular and a talented athlete. Everyone in the community was shaken. The school provided grief counseling to over 400 students in the days following the incident. A crackdown on drug trafficking in the school has resulted in the arrests of an 18 and a 16 year-old students.

On January 30, 2006 a 16 year-old junior exited the busand entered his high school in Montana as he had done everyday. This day, however, he went immediately to the restroom where his Principal was standing just outside the door. With no sign of hesitation, he entered the restroom. Moments later the Principal was startled by a loud gunshot from inside the restroom. He rushed in and found his student dead of a single self-inflicted gunshot wound. The school was placed in “lock-down” status. Police and emergency responders poured into the school. Shock, disbelief and concern swept the school and the entire community.

Two days later on February 1, in Ohio, a 17 year-old junior walked into a restroom shortly after arriving at school and hanged himself. A fellow student entered the restroom and found the body of his classmate. The school was placed in “lock down” while paramedics worked on the young man and eventually took him away. The school brought in its Emergency Response Intervention Team to provide counseling services as needed. The student was reported be well liked and friendly.

A week later on February 8, in another community in Ohio, a 10 year-old took his own life with a single gunshot. While the suicide happened at home, the death has touched the other students in the area. The school system has responded with their Crisis Intervention Team to meet the needs of the students there.

SuicideIt is important to note that the schools involved all responded quickly and efficiently with the Crisis Plans and Teams working well. Whenever a suicide happens, it is critical that such steps take place in a very measured fashion. Not only do young people need assistance in handling loss of a friend or classmate, they are in fact at risk of committing “copycat” events. These schools are to praised for handling the aftermath well.

There is still one question that is expressed, or at least thought, during such events: Why didn’t we see it coming?

People have committed suicide in every era and in every collective group of the human experience. The reasons and methods vary as much as people vary. According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is currently the third leading cause of death in the group of 15-24 year-olds.

holdingheadThe rate of youth suicides has tripled since the 1950s, and today, suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds. In 1998, more teenagers and young adults died of suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.”     (CDC Injury Fact Book .)

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