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.