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A 15-Yr. Old Life Should Never End This Tragically

Question MarkIn my tenure as educator in a private Christian school, I’ve had some tough weeks before where nothing went right. In those times, I still tried to find the positive amongst the negative and tell myself the pain was only temporary. Invariably, my assumptions were confirmed, as the “bad weeks” never seemed to be prolonged into weeks, months or years. Positive energy was always the next day away, ready to brighten my perspective and turn my attention back to the joys that come from seeing students flourish.

The positive energy of this new school year was unexpectedly and violently ripped out of the atmosphere last weekend when we were informed on Sunday of the tragic news that one of our beloved 10th grade girls chose to take her life on the Friday night of the first week of school. Needless to say, last week was the toughest I’ve ever experienced with students. And I suspect these tough days are going to turn into tough weeks and months ahead for our school family and tough years for her closest friends and family who loved her most.

Where does one start to piece together something this devastating? Your world literally stops. You don’t know what to think, what to believe or what’s appropriate to feel. And it’s not just a few that are affected. When you have a middle and high school only totaling 90 students, it touches everyone.

So much pain.

So much emotion.

So many questions.

No good answers.

This post is my meager attempt to honor the life of this child and help our students cope with their pain. Her grandparents, who acted as her legal guardians for the last several years, have graciously consented to this writing in the hopes that others may understand the effects of suicide. It is their wish that our students would always cherish their fond memories and live a better life themselves for having known their granddaughter – who, at the request of the family, I will give the pseudonym Jane Doe for the remainder of this post.

Knowing Jane

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