Dear Cherry Creek School District Parents,
Sadly, events in our communities have compelled me to address a topic that is often not spoken of, student suicide. Recently the news media has reported on the tragic deaths of students by suicide. Unfortunately, we are not immune to this public health issue, having lost one of our own students to such a tragedy. Our hearts go out to all students, families and staff who have experienced loss throughout the Denver metro area.
We strive to make safety an everyday practice in Cherry Creek Schools and believe that schools are still one of the safest places for students. Given recent tragic events in our local and greater communities, now is the time for this conversation and for all to work together to address suicide, an issue that goes beyond the boundaries of our schools, but affects those we care so deeply about, our students.
Together, we can work to prevent suicide. Experts tell us that students who contemplate suicide give warning signs of their distress. Our community of parents, schools, and public agencies should come together to identify students who are at risk and get them the help they need. If you have concerns about your child's mental health, or the mental health of their friends, or a child in the neighborhood, please reach out to either community agencies or your school. As a district, as a community, we must maintain our steadfast commitment to the safety of our children.
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) reminds us that these are some of the warning signs of suicide:
- Suicidal threats in the forms of direct and indirect statements
- Suicide notes and plans
- Prior suicidal behavior
- Making final arrangements (e.g., making funeral arrangements, writing a will, giving away prized possessions)
- Preoccupation with death
- Changes in behavior, appearance, thoughts and/or feelings
To learn more about the characteristics of suicide, resiliency factors, what you can do, and community resources to address suicide, please visit our CCSD website and read about "Preventing Youth Suicide -Tips for Parents and Educators."
Let's use some time, this long weekend, to connect with our children in meaningful ways and rediscover what excites and worries them. It's a wonderful opportunity to spend some face-to face time together, build family relationships, and reaffirm our support and love.
Please join Cherry Creek School District in the fight against suicide, by working with your schools and local agencies to identify children who are at-risk. Together, we can ensure that all of our children will grow and thrive in a safe community that is forged by our partnership and our concern. We do not want to glorify suicide, but we do not want to ignore this issue. Our promise to you is that we will continue to rethink, reassess, and re-evaluate all we do in the district for the safety of our students. Together, as a community, we can support our children and work to prevent additional tragedies.
Again, if you have concerns involving your student, please contact your school administrator or counselor. In addition, please report any safety issues to the District CARE Line at 720-554-2273, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great schools, great communities, this is what Cherry Creek School District stands for, making a difference for our children.
Harry C. Bull, Jr.