Lawrence Central community mourns student after suicide at school
The announcement tonight before Lawrence Central's football team Senior Night game was a somber one.
"The Lawrence Central family tragically lost a member of its student body today. We ask at this time can you please join us in a moment of silence."
Fans stood and remembered a freshman girl found dead in the school today. A suicide. Students say she was found in a restroom.
"She was a good friend of mine she was on the track team and was a real sweet girl," one freshman told us. "She was bubbly and the kind of person who if you were sad would cheer you up."
It's not clear why the student would take her life Friday morning.
There were the usual pregame traditions Friday night: fireworks, parents marching on with their graduating seniors, the national anthem. Traditions that seemed to give some comfort tonight.
Parents told us it was important that the school take a moment to remember the victim.
"I think it's important to the student body," a father told us.
"My daughter knew her," said Dale Cross. "She was a lovely child, I'm told. I didn't know her personally. I think it's going to be a healing trend to help heal the student body."
The biggest lesson that the kids learned at Lawrence Central High School Friday was not in the classroom, but in life.
Police took possession of a lone bookbag late Friday morning. By that time, word was already spreading across the school that a freshman girl had committed suicide.
"It was pretty heavy, you know. A lot of people were sad, you see people crying in the hallways," said student Xavier Young. It made you feel really bad."
The school district issued a statement about the suicide Friday afternoon:
"It is with deep sadness that I am letting the Lawrence Central Family know that the student who attempted suicide earlier today was pronounced dead early this afternoon. We will have counseling services available to any student who needs support during this very difficult time," the statement read. "We are all devastated by the events of the day. Please keep the family in your thoughts and prayers."
Students say the girl was found in the bathroom. The school says she was immediately transported to the hospital. Parents say they are surprised by the way news of the incident was disseminated.
"It's a shame that you can send out a notification about papers being missing, but you can't send out a notification on maybe kids getting bullied or maybe fights or weapons," said parent Kofele Minka. "I talked to my daughter about it, I heard it was a suicide, but I just had to go on what I know and telling her, you know, always let me know...I just had a conversation with her about that the other day. Is she getting bullied, or any bullying going on in her school? And it's 'No, daddy, no.'"
Counselors were made available at the school Friday and will also be there from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Saturday and Monday for those who need to talk about what happened.