Featured on the The Cut. Author: Kimberly Truong
Another student who survived the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last year has reportedly taken his own life, according to police.
The Miami Herald reported that the male student, who was in tenth grade and attended Stoneman Douglas last year, died in “an apparent suicide” on Saturday night. The news came just days after the family of another Parkland survivor, Sydney Aiello, confirmed that she died by suicide after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and survivor’s guilt.
“As of now it’s an apparent suicide,” Coral Springs police spokesman Tyler Reik told People. “We are conducting an investigation and the cause of death hasn’t been officially confirmed yet.”
Police did not release the second student’s name, and told the Herald that it is not known whether or not his death can be linked to the school shooting.
According to the Herald, more than 60 school, county, city, child services, and law enforcement officials, as well as mental health specialists, teachers, and parents, met for an emergency meeting on Sunday afternoon to discuss taking action to address mental health issues.
“They will be asking parents to take this issue seriously,” said Ryan Petty, father of Alaina Petty, a 14-year-old freshman who was one of 17 people killed in the Parkland shooting. “Parents cannot be afraid to ask their kids the tough questions.”
Petty said the school district will be instructing parents in the “Columbia Protocol,” a set of six questions to ask children to determine the need for emergency resources. The Herald reported that several nonprofits are also dispatching therapy groups that will offer free services.
“During the spring break, I encourage you to take time to speak with your children every day. Dinners are a great time for family conversation,” superintendent Robert Runcie told parents. “We need to remove the stigma from talking about suicide.”
On Sunday morning, Parkland survivor and activist David Hogg tweeted calling for action from the government and school district in the wake of the news.
“Now is the time for the Florida Legislature to help,” Jared Moskowitz, Florida’s emergency management director and a former state representative from Parkland, tweeted on Sunday. “Mental health is a bipartisan issue.”
In the U.S., the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.