BY PETER JONES
Littleton Public Schools Superintendent Bran Ewert has encouraged sympathy and unity in the wake of two suicides last week by district students.
“Our hearts are heavy as we continue to support all of our students and their families,” Ewert wrote in an Aug. 31 letter to parents. “It is human nature to feel frustration, anger and fear and to look for rationale when people in our community are in crisis. Sometimes simple answers cannot be found. This is when it is most important for us to continue to partner with one another as parents, community and schools to find ways to better address the needs of our families.”
The first suicide by an Arapahoe High School junior occurred Aug. 29. The next day, a Powell Middle School eighth-grader shot himself at Mark Twain Elementary. Both had just posted disturbing messages on social media.
A vigil was held Aug. 31 at Arapaho Park in Centennial.
Officials have not released the juveniles’ names.
Counselors were made available to students, district officials said.
“As you know, Littleton Public Schools has numerous programs, interventions and highly trained mental health professionals in place to address the needs of our students and staff, and we are always looking for ways to improve,” Ewert wrote in his letter. “We have many resources on the district’s website that might be helpful to you as you discuss these sensitive issues with your children in age-appropriate ways.”
Teen suicide in Colorado has increased during the last two years. Fifty people ages 10-18 died by suicide in 2014. The number jumped to 72 in 2015 and peaked at 68 last year, according to data from the state health department.
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