Marin Parents Struggle To Make Sense Of Teen Suicides
SAN RAFAEL (KCBS) – San Rafael parents were offering support to one another, after what authorities said appeared to be a second teen suicide in just over a week.
The body of a 13-year-old boy was found in a park Monday morning. The student who made the grisly discovery was on his way to school.
KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:
According to officials, there was no suicide note left behind. As late as noon Tuesday, the Marin County Coroner had declined to reveal the cause of death of the boy, who was identified only as a Miller Creek 8th grader.
Dixie School District officials indicated grief counselors would be available to students all week.
The community was already in mourning, after the suicide of a Terra Linda sophomore a week ago.
Parents and educators alike were asking what seemed like an unanswerable question: why?
“That’s the question we don’t know,” acknowledged Bruce Abbott, president of the Dixie School Board. “I mean, there’s a lot of academic pressure in Marin. I think the expectations are very high. And I think it’s a stressful time, high school is a very stressful time, middle school is a very stressful time for kids. I don’t think we can ever forget that.”
Marin County has been under a microscope of sorts.
“Not too long ago, there was a death in Novato High School. There were some kids who went out drinking and crashed a car; that was just a few weeks ago,” recalled Abbott. “So all of this is happening so fast and people are saying, is it safe for kids here? What do we do? At the end of the day you realize kids do dumb things and we need to talk to them about it and we need to help them through that process. From a parent’s standpoint, I think the question is, are kids safe, what can I do?”
Educators hoped to strike a delicate balance, allowing students to grieve without creating a memorial that would be misconstrued as glamorizing suicide.
“Kids taking their life in a public way, what are they trying to say? How do we deal with that question and how do we deal with this statement that they’re making to us? To have two events like this, both in the same manner is just really hard to process,” Abbott said.
Even without a firm grasp on the motives behind the recent deaths, Abbot stressed the need for the community to address potential influences. He pointed to what has become a national conversation about teen bullying, following a string of suicides around the country in the past couple of weeks, attributed to anti-gay tormenting.
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