The Ocean City school community is coping Friday with the loss of an Ocean City High School student to suicide.
Out of respect to the privacy of families, OCNJ Daily chooses not report on suicides, name victims or speculate on causes (except in cases involving public figures, public actions or a family’s wish to have a death be made public).
In this case, the family of sophomore John Delgrande did release a statement through the school district:
“We don’t know any other way to say this, nor do we fully grasp what caused him to do this. We do feel that is important that if you bring this to the student body – they understand that there is nothing in life that can’t be overcome with listening, caring and understanding that everyone is different. Death is not the answer to solve one’s problems – ask for help and get help for those that ask.”
Members of the school’s Crisis Response Team were present Friday “to provide support, comfort, and information about common reactions following a suicide and how adults can help youths cope,” according to a statement from the district. “They will also provide information about suicide and mental illness in adolescents, including risk factors and warning signs of suicide, and will address all questions and concerns of students and staff over the next several days. Trained crisis counselors will be available to meet with students and staff starting tomorrow and continuing over the next few weeks as needed.”
Students or parents in need of additional assistance can call the high school during school hours or Cape Counseling at (609) 465-5999. Additionally, assistance can be found through the Traumatic Loss Coalition at this link http://ubhc.rutgers.edu/tlc/suicide_awareness.html.
Ocean City School Superintendent Kathleen Taylor sent a letter early Friday to parents and guardians in the Ocean City School District. The letter addresses the actions the district is taking to help the school community deal with the loss.
Dear Parent(s) and/or Guardian(s):
It is with deep sadness that we inform you about the tragic loss of one of our high school students earlier this morning. Our hearts and thoughts are with the student’s family, friends and loved ones as they cope with this tremendous personal loss.
This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions from our school community, especially from some of our students. The members of the district’s Crisis Response Team, which is made up of professionals trained to help with the needs of students, parents, and school personnel, are present at the high school to provide support, comfort, and reassurance to students who need support.
Should students or parents need additional assistance, please call the OCHS Guidance Office at (609) 399-1290, ext. 4214 during school hours or Cape Counseling at (609) 465-5999. If you have a specific concern about your child, please call the District Student Services Office at (609) 814-8753.
We have posted additional resources and contact information to provide parents with tools to discuss this complex matter with your child. Please visit our District website (www.oceancityschools.org ) for more information. The information can be found under the District’s News Section listed as Grief Loss Resources and Dealing with Crisis – Contact Information or under the High School Parents Section as Health Services: Suicide Prevention.
Ifyou have any questions or concerns, please contact my office. We know you share our concern, support, and deepest sympathy for the family.
Kathleen W. Taylor, Ed. D.