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Bullying not thought to be cause of boy's suicide

Monday, October 21, 2013
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— Rotterdam Police are investigating the suicide of a Schalmont student over the weekend, but don’t have any evidence to believe it stemmed from bullying.

District officials confirmed that the student, a 14-year-old high school freshman, died off campus Saturday. Spokeswoman Audrey Hendricks said the school’s resource officer and Rotterdam police are working with the district to investigate what led to the boy’s death.

“At this point, we can’t speculate why,” Hendricks said, “but any and every reason is being investigated.”

District officials released the name of the deceased teen, but The Gazette is not reporting it.

Rotterdam police Lt. Michael Brown said the body was discovered around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, but declined to discuss the location or other details surrounding the death. Investigators aren’t sure what precipitated the suicide and Brown said there was no initial indication from school administrators or his family that the youth was bullied.

“That is one thing we certainly looked into,” he said. “There was no indication bullying was ever complained about by this individual.”

Then, over the weekend, social media sites lit up with reports the teen was bullied. With the large volume of these reports, Brown said investigators decided to take a fresh look at the case, which he classified as an ongoing investigation.

“We’re still looking into reports through social media at this point,” he said. “We’re still going through those leads. We’re still actively speaking with people.”

District officials had grief counselors on hand at the campus to help students through the death of their classmate. High School Principal Imran Abbasi also sent a letter home to parents about the suicide, urging them to be aware of the behavior that sometimes leads up to a suicide attempt, and also warning them to separate fact from rumor.

“This is a difficult time for everyone in our community, which is why it’s important for all of us to talk and share our feelings,” he wrote in the letter. “However, often in times like this, it’s common for rumors to abound.”

 
 

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