Suicide Rocks Severna Park High School

| May 11, 2012
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UPDATE: The spokesperson from the Anne Arundel County Schools has sent numerous emails (and a comment) asking for a correction that they did indeed respond to our inquiry for a statement. When we updated the story that the schools had indeed responded with a letter on the school’s website, we felt it was redundant to re-publish the same statement from the spokesperson because he had already made the statement in the letter.  Here is a copy of his response received at 1:48pm shortly after our updated post:

We became aware early this morning that a Severna Park High School sophomore had died unexpectedly. As we do in such cases, the school system dispatched additional counselors to Severna Park High School to assist students and staff, and those counselors were in place when students arrived. We will continue to make counselors available for as long as is necessary. This morning, about 15 or 20 additional personnel were at Severna Park to assist the school’s team of counselors and school psychologists. A letter will be sent home today with students so that parents will understand the resources available to them and their children. We also have reached out to the family of the student involved to offer as many resources as we can during this difficult time.

UPDATE: Severna Park High School has posted a letter from Principal Patrick Bathras regarding the death on their website.

This morning, the Severna Park community was rocked with the news that a tenth grade student at Severna Park High School has taken her own life.

The death came as a shock to the community and to friends who knew the athlete and honor roll student as the school year winds down.

While we have not received a statement from Anne Arundel County Public Schools, it is expected that they will make grief counselors available to all students as needed.

The tragedy of a young person dying because of overwhelming hopelessness or frustration is devastating to family, friends, and community. Parents, siblings, classmates, coaches, and neighbors might be left wondering if they could have done something to prevent that young person from turning to suicide.  Learning more about factors that might lead an adolescent to suicide may help prevent further tragedies. Even though it’s not always preventable, it’s always a good idea to be informed and take action to help a troubled teenager.

In January  2009, Morgan Beverly ended her own life. The Broadneck High School‘s teen’s parents have established The Morgan Beverly Foundation to reach out to the community to  provide adequate resources to those contemplating or affected by suicide.

One of the most robust sources of information is the International Suicide Prevention Wiki which is a worldwide directory of suicide prevention hotlines, online chat, text-lines, and resources. The ISP Wiki is open source to be used by any individual or organization.

Another good resource is About Teen Suicide, a site offering tools, advice, and tips on how to recognize a child in need.

Bullying and suicide are two very serious issues that face our children today.  Unfortunately, most people, and even the entities one might expect to help, turn a blind eye because of a perceived stigma associated with it. The police and schools do not track (or they do not release) the number of suicide deaths each year. We know of several and this is not the first at Severna Park High School. Of course the privacy of the families’ needs to be protected, but when we are losing our children in what is becoming an alarming rate, the conversation needs to be started.

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Category: Anne Arundel County Crime, Breaking News, Crime News, Education, NEWS

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Eye On Annapolis is a community based site focusing strictly on Anne Arundel County. These staff postings are general news postings made by our team of bloggers throughout the day and are not attributed to any one particular staff person.
  • Maribel Ibrahim

    While this news is certainly tragic, I am so glad you posted this article.  Suicide has been a huge problem in Anne Arundel County and Severna Park for too many years.  I find it abhorrent that no one keeps track of the number of incidents, because there is no way to measure whether things are getting better or worse.

    No one wants to label things and discuss suicide openly, which perpetuates the problem of wearing our happy faces outside while we implode inside.  When are we going to wake up and realize that unrelenting pressure that these kids get from all sides is too much.  When does it end.  For some, they decide with their own lives and that is unacceptable.  Let’s wake up and reprioritize what is really important in life instead of trying to clean up the messes we leave after ignoring the problems of pressure for too long.

     

  • Myshadow143

    When will we learn?  This is a tragedy beyond words.  Hard to imagine she was bullied..most athletes aren’t bullied.  Question is who knew about her mental anguish?    One doesn’t  just wake up one day and figure life isn’t worth living..who missed the silent cries for help!  Another young, pomising life snuffed out.
    I don’t intend these comments to make people feel worse than they already do..I say them as rhetorical questions because my heart breaks for the young lady and her family and friends.
    I know she is finally at peace..peace she couldn’t find in this lfe.

    • Delaware Blue

      How do you know she was bullied? There is scant information in this article, certainly none that says this was the cause of her death. People who commit suicide are mentally ill and need to be treated for their disease. Well people do not kill themselves because they are teased. The tragedy is that we as a society are utterly ignorant about how to spot and treat mental illness in teens. That’s where the focus needs to be, not on “bullying” which has been perverted to the point that normal adolescent behavior is not labeled as such. 

    • http://www.eyeonannapolis.net/ John Frenaye

       To clarify, I do not know if she was bullied and there is no indication that she was. My point was that suicide and bullying (as it relates to teens today) are two issues that no one likes to talk about.

      In many cases they are indeed related. Just look at the suicide of Tyler Clementi in New Jersey. He was literally bullied to death.

  • Bob Mosier

    It is really unfortunate that as of 6:45 p.m. this story
    still incorrectly reports that Anne Arundel County Public Schools has not
    responded to Mr. Frenaye’s inquiry. In fact, I provided a response to Mr.
    Frenaye at 1:48 p.m. today, 13 minutes after his email to the school system. Since it
    is not included in the story above, here is the response sent to Mr. Frenaye:

    We became aware early this morning that a Severna Park High
    School sophomore had died unexpectedly. As we do in such cases, the school
    system dispatched additional counselors to Severna Park High School to assist
    students and staff, and those counselors were in place when students arrived.
    We will continue to make counselors available for as long as is necessary. This
    morning, about 15 or 20 additional personnel were at Severna Park to assist the
    school’s team of counselors and school psychologists. A letter will be sent
    home today with students so that parents will understand the resources
    available to them and their children. We also have reached out to the family of
    the student involved to offer as many resources as we can during this difficult
    time.

    Bob Mosier

    Public Information Officer

    Anne Arundel County Public Schools

    It is really unfortunate that as of 6:45 p.m. this story
    still incorrectly reports that Anne Arundel County Public Schools has not
    responded to Mr. Frenaye’s inquiry. In fact, I provided a response to Mr.
    Frenaye at 1:48 p.m. today, 13 minutes after his email to the school system. Since it
    is not included in the story above, here is the response sent to Mr. Frenaye:

    We became aware early this morning that a Severna Park High
    School sophomore had died unexpectedly. As we do in such cases, the school
    system dispatched additional counselors to Severna Park High School to assist
    students and staff, and those counselors were in place when students arrived.
    We will continue to make counselors available for as long as is necessary. This
    morning, about 15 or 20 additional personnel were at Severna Park to assist the
    school’s team of counselors and school psychologists. A letter will be sent
    home today with students so that parents will understand the resources
    available to them and their children. We also have reached out to the family of
    the student involved to offer as many resources as we can during this difficult
    time.

    Bob Mosier

    Public Information Officer

    Anne Arundel County Public Schools

    • http://www.eyeonannapolis.net/ John Frenaye

      Bob–there was an update (top of the post) made shortly before your email to me indicating that the school’s principal had posted a letter on their website.

      At the time of the initial publication, we had not received any statement, nor was the letter on the school’s website. When we learned the letter was on the site, we did an update. Your response which came after that update was redundant. (as was the duplicate comment you wrote)  But now it is on the record.

      When I replied to you, I also explained exactly why I did not link or post a copy of the letter.

  • Maribel Ibrahim

    For the record, the letter was posted on the AACPS website, not the Severna Park HS website.  As of this time (9:24pm) the link is no longer readily visible on the AACPS website.

    John, thank you for covering this story respectfully when it has been largely ignored by other media.  Rather than discuss email responses,  I propose a few solutions to dealing with suicide.  Read about it here:
    http://unworker.blogspot.com/2012/05/we-are-not-ok.html

    My prayers are with the family.  Let’s stop ignoring the needs of our students in our community and listen to what they are desperately trying to tell us.

    • http://www.eyeonannapolis.net/ John Frenaye

       Maribel–thanks for the link. Powerful piece. This awkward, uncomfortable, depressing, frank conversation needs to be started!

  • Family Friend

    While this tragedy is impacting a large number of families and the issue of suicide needs serious attention, I request you remove the “Suicide is 100% preventable” from your blog.  From the most basic flaw of contradicting your article, i.e. “Even though it’s not always preventable…” to the fact that the claim purports family or friends are accountable are both highly irresponsible and counterproductive.  As a friend of the family, I know that in this case everything possible was being done to help this student, and unless you put a child on 100% watch, strap them to a bed, or institutionalize an otherwise productive young person, this kind of tragedy still can occur.  Several friends hope that the family never sees this and that your insensitivity to the individual case is appalling.  The use of a specific horrible loss to further a cause within hours of the occurrance is disgusting,  Reporting the facts about a case is one thing, to delve into a myriad of other, potentially unrelated issues is another – write a separate article.

    • http://www.eyeonannapolis.net/ John Frenaye

      This was the statement made in the article:Learning more about factors that might lead an adolescent to suicide may help prevent further tragedies. Even though it’s not always preventable, it’s always a good idea to be informed and take action to help a troubled teenager.

      • neighbor

        The accompanying graphic is the problem.

        • Theallen4

          Please remove 100% preventable graphic

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