SCHENECTADY It was a moving 30 seconds for the kids in room B20, when their attention was drawn to the crowd of people walking up the Plaza.
“Where are they going?”
“To the wake.”
The room fell silent for a moment, and then they all went on with what they had been doing.
The crowd was going to the wake of a student who had just committed suicide.
It is a sensitive subject these days in the halls of Schenectady High School. One week later, another girl committed the act and three more attempted. Confusion and sadness were felt by all of the students who knew the girls. Even those who were not acquainted with them felt the effects of the choice they had made.
In spite of the suddenness and unexpected deaths, the high school quickly responded, sending home letters to parents encouraging them to talk to their kids. These letters also gave a list of warning signals of someone who might attempt suicide. The high school set aside a room for those students who wished to mourn or talk to someone about the deaths of their peers, and organized meetings that students and their families can attend for further information on how to handle and heal from the suicide or attempted suicide of a loved one.
Teachers were also encouraged to talk to their students about suicide. One teacher described suicide as “a permanent fix to a temporary problem,” while another teacher provided phone numbers to centers that someone could call if they are thinking of attempting, or know someone who might attempt, suicide (numbers available at the end of this article). A number of the students programmed the numbers into their cellphones.
Suicide, as demonstrated for the past two weeks as SHS, is a horrible thing. The act of someone taking their own life is terribly sad, yet when one considers all of the people it affects, it makes it all the more tragic.
If you have thoughts of suicide, or think someone you know might attempt suicide, please, don’t keep it to yourself. Reach out to a loved one, a teacher, a peer, or contact someone at either of the following places:
u The Child Guidance Center at Northeast: 381-8911
u Samaritans Suicide Prevention Center: 689-4673
There is always going to be someone who is willing to listen and help you, because you are not alone.