Boiling Springs High School students are mourning the loss of one of their own following a suicide this week.
District administrators activated a response plan by deploying professionals to the high school Wednesday to provide support to the student body, said Bruce Deveney, acting superintendent of South Middleton School District.
“There were a number of local pastors as well as Teenline representatives and our own counselors and psychologists,” he said. “We had some available [Thursday] though not as many. The need was not as great.”
Early Thursday morning a group of students set up an impromptu memorial at the student’s locker in the hallway, Deveney said. The memorial included the locker and the nearby floor space and involved mementos, flowers and handwritten notes.
After consultation with counselors and the school psychologist, staff removed the items from the memorial after the group of students went to their first period class, Deveney said. The removal of the memorial took place between 7:30 and 9:05 a.m. Thursday.
Items from the memorial were bagged for transport to the high school office where the items were then stacked on an audio-visual utility cart, the superintendent said. The family of the dead student was called and they were given the opportunity to claim the memorial items.
A representative from the family arrived at the high school later in the day to pick up the items, Deveney said. He said some students brought to the counselors concerns they had about the removal of the memorial. Deveney would not elaborate on what those concerns were.
“Any student death is a tragedy,” he said Thursday afternoon. “We are really focusing on helping our students. We want to maintain confidentiality and to be sensitive of the family and the [student’s] friends.”
The memorial did not violate any school policy that Deveney is aware of. When asked if the placement of the items presented a safety issues, he repeated that the memorial was removed on the advice of experts.
Three or four high school students were signed out by their parents later in the school day Thursday “due to the whole situation,” Deveney said. “I can’t say it’s because of the memorial or what led to the memorial.”
There are 670 students in grades 9-12 enrolled at Boiling Springs High School.