All Invited to Panel Discussion Tuesday Following Student Suicides

first_imgThe Ocean City School District Student Services Department and members of the Traumatic Loss Coalition will hold a panel discussion and presentation for parents at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3 at Ocean City High School.Topics will include student referral services, mental health and drug/alcohol awareness. All members of the community are invited to attend. The event will be held in the Media Center at the high school (use the front entrance).The topic of student mental health has risen to the forefront following the suicides of two Ocean City High School students within a year. (Read more: In Wake of Suicide, Public Pleads for More Help for Students.)The following letter from Ocean City School Superintendent Kathleen Taylor explains more about the issue and the event. October 27, 2015Dear Parents/Guardians and School Community:We strive to make the schools in the Ocean City School District as safe and secure as possible, but the tragic loss of two students to suicide in less than a year shocked all of us, parents, students, educators and the community.After a suicide death, it is common to try to answer the question, “Why?”We never want it to happen again, but the reasons someone dies by suicide are complicated. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) informs us that a suicide is not caused by a single event such as a bad grade, an argument with parents, or the breakup of a relationship. In most cases, according to the AFSP, suicide is caused by an underlying mental health illness that affects the way a student feels, interacts, behaves and learns and prevents them from thinking clearly. In some cases, these problems also can manifest into risky and harmful behaviors, ranging from physical aggression to bullying to substance abuse and self-injury.Our School District has developed and continues to refine a responsible, multi-dimensional plan to raise awareness about mental health matters and to provide appropriate supports that are integrated with the learning environment of school. For resources and more information, please go to the School District website at  www.oceancityschools.org.If you would like to anonymously report bullying or another serious event, please call the “Anonymous We-Tip Hotline” at 1-855-862-8559.Butthe School District cannot alone prevent suicide among our students. We need your help. Further in-depth discussions about those whom we care for deeply — our students — and teenage suicide are needed. The first panel discussion is being held on Tuesday, Nov. 3 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the High School Media Center (please see the attached flyer). There will be other information sessions in the next few months and the details of these sessions will be forthcoming.Additionally, the Ocean City School Board is forming a Strategic Ad-Hoc Committee comprised of board members, administrators, staff, parents, community members, law enforcement agencies and public agencies. This committee will work together to ensure consistency, collaboration and communication regarding teen mental health and wellness.We will have details following the School Board approval in November with the first meeting to be held in December. lf you are interested in serving on this Committee, please contact my secretary, Scotty Keiluhn at 609-399-5150 or [email protected] must work to support our students, and unite with families, the community and public agencies to prevent additional tragedies. Together, we can ensure that all of our children will grow and thrive in a supportive community that is forged through our partnerships.Sincerely,Kathleen W. Taylor, Ed. D.SuperintendentDownload (PDF, 93KB)last_img read more