26 answers

Suicide at My Daughter's School and Memorial

Just wanting others thoughts on this. My daughter is a freshman in high school. This past Monday another female freshman shot herself in the head in the girls bathroom. She died almost instantly and left a suicide note. This is a big school and my daughter did not know this student.
This coming Friday night the dance team that my daughter is on is hosting a fashion show for several businesses in town. It is a formal event with lots of businesses present as well as a reception afterwards. I came across a facebook page event that some students from the school created. They are planning on holding a memorial right out in front of the school on Friday night during the hours of the fashion show. They have asked everyone to bring flowers, bears, notes, etc. to place in front of the school. Almost 70 students have said they are coming. The students have not gotten permission to hold this even from the principal nor do I think it is appropriate to hold this type of event while another school sponsored event is taking place. I understand that students are mourning for the loss of their friend but I just think this memorial is wrong time, wrong place kind of thing. Should I let the principal know what these students are planning?

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So What Happened?™

Thank you for the following response:
“I'm surprise at the judgmental response to Momof3girls post. Some have assumed she is heartless when all she is asking is is it appropriate to have these two events at the same time? She is not saying she thinks the memorial is inappropriate. She's ASKING about the TIMING of the memorial and the fashion show and whether or not she should talk with the principal because it's her understanding that he is not aware of it. The principal has to know what is happening on school property and with as many kids as have responded it's my guess he knows but it's logical to check with him to be sure he does know.
Having the two events at the same time is a logistical problem that is best planned for in advance. It doesn't mean not having the memorial or the fashion show. It means that the people who are responsible for the students and school need to make some plans in advance for crowds, traffic, parking, the interface of those who mourn and those who know nothing about the death if both events are to occur or to have time to make changes if that's more appropriate.
Please do not assume you know what is in another person's heart! Please have more facts before making a judgment.”
And to the rest of you posters that called me insensitive, judgmental, and other not so nice names. Shame on you!! I never once said the memorial was inappropriate. I am merely concerned with the logistics of having both events and concerned that this event was not cleared by administration (which I have since found it these students do not have permission for this) which any event regardless of the situation is suppose to have prior approval. No, the fashion show should not be cancelled. These girls have put in hours and hours of work on this in an effort to support local businesses. I am not heartless. I feel a deep sadness for this student and her family. I can not imagine what her parents are going through.
This board has become so harsh and judgmental. Shameful.

And as a side note- the girl’s family is not involved in this. In fact many of the students attending did not even know this girl. I think a lot of this is being done for attention.

Featured Answers

I'm so sorry so many on this forum have decided to bash you for an honest concern.

The principle should know because perhaps the administrators at the school have already begun the process of getting the school population grief counseling.

Both events can happen but they need to be done respectfully. The students need an outlet for their grief and some people just keep on working as a way of handling their grief.

8 moms found this helpful

I would leave it ( them ) alone and let them do what they need to do in remembrance of this girl. Someone's child just died. Someone's friend just died. Let these kids grieve the loss. Let them show it however way they can.

7 moms found this helpful

Would you think that it was wrong place, wrong time if the student had died in a car wreck, or from a disease?

6 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Seriously? You have to be kidding me. I am so sickened by your question, and incredible lack of compassion. Since when does a fashion show take precedence over a dead teenager and her mourning friends? A FASHION SHOW.

If it were your child, would you care about a meaningless fashion show for some dance team? How DARE she shoot herself in the head and inconvenience a stupid fashion show. Get a grip, lady.

12 moms found this helpful

I agree with the PP-it is the Fashion show that should be cancelled and not the memorial. And seriously-I would not tell ANYONE in your community how you feel about this. Hopefully your post here is as far as you have got with your sentiment. You sound really, really bad for thinking this. Pretend for a second it was your daughter's best friend-say like someone on the "dance team". My guess is that you could hear your wailing all the way up here in Pittsburgh and you would make a holy stink if anyone wanted to dare interfere with your memorial. Sorry-you just really have rubbed me the wrong way. A child has died in the most grievous of ways.

12 moms found this helpful

UGH! I was with you until the "attention" comment. You said you appreciated the response that said you shouldn't judge what's on another person's heart and then you make a judgment about their motivations!!

You know, a lot of kids, whether they knew the girl or not feel affected by these things. A peer, a girl in their classroom and someone who walked their halls, someone at the age of 15 years old SHOT HERSELF in the bathroom at your daughter's high school. I'm haunted by that. I'd imagine they are too.

And this is a mere WEEK after another student died from a drug overdose.

Personally, I think that the timing of the fashion show is poor and frivolous considering the problems that your daughter's school is facing but if you are concerned about this unofficial, unorganized event, then go ahead and talk to the principal. Perhaps it would be better if the school could support the student in their efforts as well and designate a space for them since they can't postpone the fashion show. Then might I also suggest that a portion of the proceeds or a donation box be available for attendees of the fashion show that will go towards teen suicide prevention.

11 moms found this helpful

I doubt the students planning the memorial realized the conflict with the fashion show. Even if they did, it's not your place to intervene. I would have compassion enough just to let it be.

10 moms found this helpful

I don't think you are being insensitive with your post. In fact, I think most of the others are crazy.

And, to play the devil's advocate, there are a lot of studies that suggest memorials after SUICIDES IN HIGH SCHOOL are a bad idea. The kids who are on the edge and see all the attention make rash decisions or want the same type of attention and that is why you have suicide clusters in high schools.

10 moms found this helpful

UPDATED SINCE UPDATE:

LADY, are you INSANE??!! ATTENTION??! Her parents arent' involved -duh!!! They have a REAL funeral to plan, this is for the peers!!!! How many more ways do you want to make this memorial sound "wrong, at fault, unworthy, and unimportant"?! What if it was for attention? (preposterous but OK) Kids are hurting. Look what happens when kids feel ignored and unimportant? SUICIDE perhaps?

Really??! "fashion show" "HOURS and HOURS of work?" "local businesses?" HELLO! Your daughter is going to remember this suicide for the rest of her life (I probably will too) and how you were against the memorial led by students because it interfered with her dance team thing. Which she probably wouldn't otherwise remember when she's an adult. And you're already sending the message that these kids are annoying attention seekers, lots of whom didn't even know the girl and don't have "proper" permission to gather and leave mementos for a human who dies a week AGO....HELLO!!!! If she's like you, she'll look back scoffingly that the silly memorial almost derailed her dance recital. If she's not like you she'll be abhorred at how you acted.

Sounds like your daughter already doesn't care and is following your lead to care more about her own dance thing. Good job. Sounds like a nice student body at a great school. I actually find it terribly sad only 70 students may show. I hope there are many more and they block the entrance, since most local people probably heard about this on the news and would understand completely seeing the kids there. I cant' imagine how I would feel at that age if this happened. A girl I didn't know died suddenly of a brain aneurysm in my high school, and the entire school respected her and everyone was shaken up. The whole town (air force base) was reeling. The grocery store she worked at flew flags half mast for a long time, kids were breaking out in tears all over, even ones that "didn't know her" (including me) the base church supported her family for all costs. Not even the lowest jocks and mean girls were aloof about it.

Is this how high school kids are today? "My important dance recital can't be postponed"??!! With parents who think that's OK? Remind me not to send my kids. What is wrong with you.--And Jane M-standard practice? Hasn't prevented numerous suicides in your school, despite the "ignore it so as not to encourage others" rule. What a wake up call this post has been. So freakin' sad!
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WOAH!! FASHION SHOW?! Ick. Should be canceled.

Memorial should take priority and be arranged by school with the students who started it at best possible time for the memorial. Or at very least rescheduled by school and students together to hold memorial at different time than dumb fashion show.

With such an impactful tragedy having happened to one of their students, to bulldoze the mourners with business as usual corporate fashion event seems super callous. Even if it was already scheduled.

Talk to the principal, be sure he reaches out to students and does right by them.

9 moms found this helpful

Hmmm, my thought was it is in poor taste to hold a FASHION SHOW after such a tragic event. I am ashamed to even be associated with you via the city I live in, which by the way you DON'T live in Austin as I know where this sad, sad event occurred. Shame on you for coming off as shallow and self-centered. Hopefully you will re-think your position after reading these responses. Give some thought as to how this poor child's family and friends must be feeling right now. And, chances are good the principal knows exactly what is being planned.

9 moms found this helpful

I agree with you. Although this is heart rending, to have a memorial at the same place another event has been scheduled is not appropriate. They can hold the memorial another night. Definitely notify the principal. Even if the event was appropriate, it has not been approved by the school administration and the principal needs to know it's happening for a variety of important reasons. The students, the school and it's grounds are his responsibility.

However, it's the principal's responsibility to handle this. You call and give him the problem. He will decide how to handle it.

I'm sure you're sorry for this student and her friends and family. I see this as a logistical problem that has nothing to do with the way anyone feels about the student's death. The fashion show has been arranged over a period of time with many people involved. I suggest that having the two events in the same place at the same time will be confusing and make mourning even more difficult. In consideration of the mourners, is it helpful for them to be competing for space with a happy event?

Later: I'm surprise at the judgmental response to Momof3girls post. Some have assumed she is heartless when all she is asking is is it appropriate to have these two events at the same time? She is not saying she thinks the memorial is inappropriate. She's ASKING about the TIMING of the memorial and the fashion show and whether or not she should talk with the principal because it's her understanding that he is not aware of it. The principal has to know what is happening on school property and with as many kids as have responded it's my guess he knows but it's logical to check with him to be sure he does know.

Having the two events at the same time is a logistical problem that is best planned for in advance. It doesn't mean not having the memorial or the fashion show. It means that the people who are responsible for the students and school need to make some plans in advance for crowds, traffic, parking, the interface of those who mourn and those who know nothing about the death if both events are to occur or to have time to make changes if that's more appropriate.

Please do not assume you know what is in another person's heart! Please have more facts before making a judgment.

9 moms found this helpful

I'm so sorry so many on this forum have decided to bash you for an honest concern.

The principle should know because perhaps the administrators at the school have already begun the process of getting the school population grief counseling.

Both events can happen but they need to be done respectfully. The students need an outlet for their grief and some people just keep on working as a way of handling their grief.

8 moms found this helpful

I do not see anything inappropriate about the student led memorial.

8 moms found this helpful

I would leave it ( them ) alone and let them do what they need to do in remembrance of this girl. Someone's child just died. Someone's friend just died. Let these kids grieve the loss. Let them show it however way they can.

7 moms found this helpful

I'm with XINE on this one. Stay out of it. For God's sake--a child is DEAD.

Perhaps this is the BEST time for a memorial? It's just not YOUR best time.

7 moms found this helpful

Stop for a second and put this in perspective. Are you really thinking that going to the principal and asking for this event to be cancelled or moved to a different time/location is your best move? Really think about it and what you are suggesting. I think if you are honest with yourself you will know what to do. A fashion show pales in comparison to a life lost.

6 moms found this helpful

Would you think that it was wrong place, wrong time if the student had died in a car wreck, or from a disease?

6 moms found this helpful

WOW my immediate response was ~ how Insensitive of you :-(
What if that girl were a Friend of your Daughters??????????
I can Only assume she wasnt a "popular girl" OR this wouldnt really be an issue would it???
SO SAD

6 moms found this helpful

My guess is the princpal already knows, but you can check with him, or maybe talk with some of the other parents. Ask if there will be a greivance counsulor or info passed out to the students to help coup with the situation. Say nothing about moving one or the other, I think both the fashion show and memorial can go on at the same time.

There is never a wrong place or wrong time to hold a memorial and in a suicidal situation among students it is best for the healing to hold one as soon as possible.

I understand that a lot of planning has gone into the fashion show, I plan events all the time, but when it comes to a memorial you NEVER ask that it can be moved. It will seem very cold hearted and inappropriate as you see from all the responses below.

5 moms found this helpful

If it is not a problem with the principal or the school, then who wishes to go to the memorial should go and who wishes to attend the fashion show should go. Are you implying that remembering someone dying is an inconvenience to the fashion show?

5 moms found this helpful

Personally, I'm surprised the fashion show was not cancelled so that an on-campus memorial could be hosted. This poor girl. I cannot imagine what her family and friends are going through. I would never think that those who have the hearts enough to plan such a dedication to her would be doing this for attention? Where does that mindset even come from?
If it is as big of a school as you make it sound, I'm sure there is more than one, maybe even 3 parking lots, and I'm sure there is room to park everyone attending both events. So, I'm really not seeing the issue. I've been to baseball practices on school property that we didn't clear with anyone, walked on school tracks without permission, and parked on the off times to meet someone without permission. I even practiced driving with my dad in the high school parking lot. I went to a large school, and, this would have never been an issue to have this on the same night as something else.

5 moms found this helpful

There are two sides to every story. From what Im getting from you is that you and girls know how much work you put into this fashion show. I get that, but I guess the way you word it makes you come off as being insensitive...You say that you want to bring it to the principles attention cause you think its his right to know whats going on around his campus. If thats all you would bring up to him, I dont see nothing wrong with that. If you add that you think that this memorial is the wrong time and wrong place kinda thing. It makes you sound kinda heartless. You have to see your side and all those childrens sides. Weigh them out. Your girls would probably apperciate postponing there fashion show for the respect of another one of there classmates dieing and the school coming together to mourn her, even if they didnt know her. She is still someones sister or daughter or best friend and you know a lot of the kids are say what if this girl was mine...

5 moms found this helpful

I think you should let them know.But I don't see how it will effect your Daughters event.Is her event inside?I would imagine that they will be outside to place flowers and such.I understand you worrying that the events will hinder one another,due to crowds and parking.But other than that there is nothing wrong with it.What if it was your Daughter?Wouldn't it make you feel good to see so many people to show up?I guess I am just not understanding what your issue is.Are you embarrassed for the business people to see this?You shouldn't be.Yes it was a tragic even and people are probably not comfortable advertising it.But no one should be offended watching students morn and support the loss of a fellow student.You have to understand that many of them are traumatized and may need this as part of the healing process.

4 moms found this helpful

The issue is that a bunch of kids are involved and grown-ups are not I think. I mean my sister died two years ago and she had resided at a home/school for the disabled for several years. I would not have dreamed of calling up people I knew, who loved my sis, having a memorial and not consulting the authority at the school to find out when and where was appropriate for this kind of activity. This is because I am an adult and I understand that these things do need to be organized because even though my personal world was in turmoil there is a whole other world out there that is still going on. I would have absolutely called the Principal as well to see that everything would be able to flow well and that the businesses that had been invited prior would be able to attend the event without an issue. The kids should have gone to the Principal, but they are kids and don't always think of everything. You did nothing wrong here and as sad as the situation is, the hard work of the girls should not be pushed aside nor should the schedule of many businesses in town, I totally agree and you are so not heartless. Of course the kids need to grieve and I see nothing wrong with a memorial personally, but there also needs to be order, that's life. I can't believe anyone came down on you but hey, guess that's life too! ;) Hope your event goes well!

3 moms found this helpful

I'll just ask a simple question........ If it had been your daughter..... No, I wont even ask, because you have no idea what you would do if it HAD been your daughter. I'll just say let the studens mourn in their own ways. And I do agree with another post... WHY not be more concerned about how the student got a gun into the school in the first place. Next time it could be alot more than ONE student they are mourning if it was that easy to get a gun into school. In my own personal opinion, there are alot more things to be worried about than a fashion show in this school.

2 moms found this helpful

You cannot stop the memorial at the school.

Do not worry, the people planning on attending the fashion show will be there/

What time is the fashion show? How long is it expected to last?

Maybe send a message on the facebook page and see if they would be willing to start the memorial 30 minutes after the show has started.

I agree that I was a bit surprised by your own last line. "I think a lot of this is being done for attention." after your entire response was defensive about people being JUDGEMENTAL..

You live in a small community. Everybody is in shock and probably wants to show the family their support. This is one way for them to do this.
I guess it is a shame that her death was inconvenient for the fashion show.

FYI, This posts says Austin, Texas because they do not have a way to put in her actual town here on mamapedia, which is a small community outside of Austin. The town is in shock and are trying to protect the family of the girl that has died.

2 moms found this helpful

I think the school should host the memorial for a number of reasons. It is a bad conflict, but the memorial should take precidence. I guess it depends on teh motivaiton of the students, girls family, etc. about where and when the memorial should be held.

2 moms found this helpful

I agree 100% with Kimberly F. And I'm sorry that you are getting so much grief for asking a legitimate question...

1 mom found this helpful

I really don't think you need to worry about telling the principal. Your child goes to a large high school, (as mine did, but not the same school), where often many school events happen on the same night. Many kids have no connection with the dance team and no interest in a fashion show. Those who want to come to the fashion show will come, and those who feel strongly about the memorial will go to that. I'm sure the school administration is aware of the planned memorial, and will act appropriately.

1 mom found this helpful

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