KJH Student's Suicide Prompts Message to Parents From Principal

The principal is urging parents of fellow students to talk to and listen to them and seek help in the grieving process if necessary.


The apparent suicide by a student has prompted the school’s principal to send an email to parents encouraging them to seek help for fellow students if they need it.

The parent of a Kirkland Junior High student forwarded the email message (see it below) to Kirkland Patch, which also received reports Wednesday evening of police activity in the Highlands neighborhood along 112th Avenue Northeast.

Kirkland Police Department spokesman Sgt. Rob Saloum told Patch Wednesday evening that the activity was due to a suicide. Early Thursday afternoon he confirmed that the email message referred to the same event.

“They’re related,” he said, adding that he would not say anything else about the facts of the suicide. “It’s not a criminal matter, we are not investigating it,” Saloum said.

A spokeswoman for the Lake Washington School District said Thursday that privacy laws prevent the district from discussing such cases.

Kirkland Patch typically does not report suicides. However, with the message from the KJH principal, it becomes a public matter.

The principal’s letter offers advice to parents and provides a phone number they can call for help. There are other resources available as well. Below are community groups and resources that can provide more information about suicide prevention and mental health issues for children and families.

Friends of Youth Main office: Redmond Youth Eastside Services
(Topic articles, including spotting suicide warning signs) Main office: Bellevue Youth Suicide Prevention Program
(Youth suicide frequently asked questions) Main office: Seattle James Mazza, associate professor at the University of Washington
(Expert on adolescent mental health and suicide) Main office: Seattle Sound Mental Health Main office: Seattle Crisis Clinic Main office: Seattle Washington State Family Policy Council Main office: Olympia


Here is the message from the Kirkland Junior High principal to parents:


Dear Kirkland Junior High Families:

I want to share with you information about a recent event that has affected the entire school community.  I’m sending you this letter to give you some information and to assure you that we are doing everything we can to get through this difficult event with a minimum of hardship and to suggest ways you may help your own children.

This morning we learned that a student died last night.  We are all shocked and saddened by the event.  Counselors are available as well as teachers and other staff to serve as resources for our Kirkland students, staff and families as they go through the grieving process or have the need to talk or express difficult feelings.  Please call us at (425) 936-2420 if you need assistance.

You can help your children simply by talking and listening to them. We don’t always know how a student will be affected in a crisis, but you know your child the best of anyone.  Be prepared for your child to do any of the following:

              •  Claim not to be affected
              •  Ask a lot of questions
              •  Act agitated and angry
              •  Try abnormally hard to be good
              •  Withdrawn
              •  Have frightful dreams

We encourage you to be sensitive with your child and to call us if we can help you in any way.  Thank you for your support of our young people.


Debbie McCarson

GMJ June 15, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Unspeakably sad. My prayers are with the family.
Greg Johnston June 16, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Our thoughts are with you and the family Emma, it is unimaginably tragic. Thank you for sharing your feelings.
Emma June 16, 2012 at 05:29 AM
Yes it is sad and his mother is very sad, we understand what she is feeling.
CR June 18, 2012 at 07:06 PM
There are no right words to say other than "I'm sorry." Many young people are hurting. We need to listen very carefully to what they are saying. We as adults sometimes make trivia of how they're feeling.
Greg Johnston June 18, 2012 at 07:12 PM
So true CR, kids at that age are such a challenge at times -- I know from experience -- but we need to stop and listen. Brushing them off is the worst thing you can do.


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