Student dies on Skyline High School campus
December 14, 2012
By Caleb Heeringa
UPDATED — 3:15 p.m. Dec. 14, 2012
A 16-year-old boy, a Skyline High School student, committed suicide on the school’s campus Thursday night.
Sammamish Police Administrative Sgt. Jessica Sullivan said that the agency’s dispatchers received a call from the boy at about 9:30 p.m.
The teen told police he was in the lower student parking lot and intended to kill himself. Police arrived six minutes later and found him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound just outside of his vehicle. Sullivan said he was alone at the time.
Sullivan declined to comment on the method of death, and said the King County Medical Examiner’s office would be releasing that information by late Friday.
Skyline’s gymnastics team held an event at the school Thursday evening and the school’s wrestling team had returned to the school that night after an away match, but Sullivan said no student athletes were in the area when the incident occurred.
“They were on the opposite side of the school from where all this happened,” she said.
Students arrived to campus Friday to find additional counselors on campus.
In an email to parents, Skyline Principal Lisa Hechtman said the school will have extra staffers on hand to help students cope with the incident.
“We have a crisis plan in place, which includes extra counselors, outreach to students and staff we know were close to the student, and preparation by all of our staff to help students process and to be watchful for signs of grief,” she wrote.
Hechtman also urged parents to provide a safe, sensitive environment for their children to express their grief and to empathize with them rather than attempt to change their feelings or cheer them up.
Skyline’s counseling center can be reached at 837-7887.
Issaquah School District spokeswoman Sara Niegowski said administrators informed staffers about the incident before school Friday. Counselors also identified close friends of the student and informed them. The rest of the school was told about the incident by first-period teachers.
“No matter what you do, it’s a really hard thing to handle,” Niegowski said. “We try to be on the lookout for students and staff that look like they want to talk about it or may need a little bit extra attention.”
Niegowski said the incident is doubly troubling for students and staff given the shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, in which 20 children and six adults died.
“It’s been a rough day for public education in general,” she said.
Reporter Warren Kagarise contributed to this report.