M-W mourns loss of student

on November 16, 2017

November 16, 2017

Dear Monroe-Woodbury families,

Yesterday I shared heartbreaking news about the sudden death of a Monroe-Woodbury High School student. The family has asked for privacy in this time of mourning and, out of respect for their wishes, we will not be sharing the student’s identity or circumstances surrounding the student’s death. Please hug your child and send thoughts of compassion and love to this grieving family at this sorrowful time.

This morning I feel compelled to communicate with our families after viewing the inaccurate and hurtful story that appeared on Channel 12 last night. In this story, the reporter said, “The district has a history of student suicides and bullying. Earlier this year, several students took their own lives reportedly due to bullying.” This is not true. There have been no student suicides reported in the school district since 2011. Since that time, the district has implemented programs at all grade levels in an effort to increase awareness of mental health issues, to empower students and encourage them to have a voice. We have made progress, but there is still work to be done.

Sharing of misinformation often takes our attention from where it needs to be in times of sadness and pain: on our students. Our community must unite to mourn this loss, spread kindness and seek solace. It is during these darkest hours that we will find strength and allow resilience, compassion and kindness to shine through. Already this morning, I learned that some high school students are reaching out to their fellow classmates to offer support.

The school district is dedicated to providing a safe, open, secure environment for all students. These are not just words on paper; this is my commitment as superintendent of schools, as an educator and a mother.

Events such as this are unsettling for our schools and our community as a whole. Please speak with your children and remind them that there is a support team trained to answer questions, lend a shoulder or simply listen. Please encourage them to reach out.

Yesterday I shared some information about two resources available to families. I have since learned that the hours for the Text4Teens program differ from those we shared. The correct times are as follows:

Text4Teens
Monday- Thursday, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday, 4 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Saturday & Sunday – 5 p.m. – 12 a.m.

I would also like to share some additional resources that you may find helpful.

https://childmind.org/article/helping-children-cope-frightening-news/
http://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources/school-safety-and-crisis/addressing-grief

This is a time for the M-W community to engage in meaningful dialogues. As always, my door is open.

Sincerely,

Elsie Rodriguez
Superintendent of Schools