(Editor’s note: Typically, news organizations do not report on suicide, however, in this case, to raise awareness and because of the unusual circumstances involved and the number of students impacted, this report is being published)
PERRY TOWNSHIP, OH (WOIO) – The Perry School District has suffered another loss. Another student has committed suicide.
WOIO Channel 19 in Cleveland is reporting that five students and one recent high school graduate have committed suicide since August 2017.
Officials say this is not a student problem or a police problem but a community problem.
They are calling it a suicide contagion, which is the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within one’s family, one’s peer group, or through media reports of suicide and can result in an increase in suicide and suicidal behaviors.
The first suicide was August, 14 when a 14-year-old student took his life. Then in September, a junior committed suicide and in November a 16-year-old girl killed herself. Another student, a 14-year-old, shot himself on New Year’s Day and then a 2017 graduate killed herself on Jan. 8. The most recent death was on Jan. 11 when a 15-year-old student committed suicide.
The district released the following statement Friday, Jan. 12:
The Perry Local School District is beyond heartbroken to report that another student has taken their own life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the student’s family during this difficult time. Our students and adults in the community are facing many difficult situations, including depression, alcohol/drug use, family and peer relationship issues, financial struggles and many more. We have many resources and support available that can be found on our website under ‘Preventative and Support Initiatives.’
Counselors are being made available for the student body. Perry Local Schools has implemented support programs, including adding two guidance counselors at the high school and using anti-bullying programs. The district also hosted three community meetings and group meetings with students.