ENGLEWOOD, Fla.- Charlotte County Public Schools has lost two students to suicide in the past two weeks.
The first, a student at L.A. Ainger Middle School, followed by another student a few days later at Lemon Bay High School.
“In the Englewood community, it’s a very difficult thing, it’s a very close-knit community out there and there’s a lot of pain and anguish right now about what’s happened,” said Michael Riley, school district spokesman.
Riley says it’s something he’s never seen in his more than 20 years on the job.
“That’s more than ever, I mean it happens, I can’t even say frequently at all, it happens once in a great while. But not so close together.”
Riley says right now, there’s no indication that either suicide is bullying related.
“I think that our kids all struggle on some level with the normal emotional and developmental struggles of adolescence,” said Victoria D’Agostino, a licensed mental health counselor at Charlotte Behavorial Health Care.
D’Agostino adds parents should watch for certain warning signs in their children.
“Any abrupt changes in kids should be cause for concern. Talks of death, if they begin talking about wanting to end their life, that should be taken seriously. Changes in appetite, and just any difference from normal behavior should be grounds for a parent to want to find out more about what’s going on with their kids,” D’Agostino said.
Counselors were at both schools to help students and staff deal with the deaths. Charlotte Behavioral Health Care says it plans to hold an educational seminar on suicide awareness for parents in the near future.