Local News

Student Dies After Hanging Himself at Zebulon Middle School

Posted March 23, 2000

— A 12-year-old student who attempted to commit suicide in a locker room at Zebulon Middle School has died.

The seventh-grader, who was hanging by a jump rope, was discovered by another student around 2 p.m. Friday.

Some students say the victim was frequently picked on and did not seek out the help of a counselor. Police say they do not know why he tried to take his own life.

"We have questioned some of the students," said Zebulon Police Capt. Gary Driver. "It's near the end of the day and most of them have gone home. We have talked to the student that did find the young man, but we have not had any other information made available."

Assistant Superintendent Walt Sherlin says he is shocked about the incident himself.

"We talked to some of his teachers today, and he seemed to be having a good day, at least part of the way through the day," Sherlin says.

A crisis team is meeting at the school. The team will also be at the school Monday in case students need help.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control shows 25 percent of high school students have thought seriously about committing suicide. Historically, Wake County Emergency Services sees more teen suicide attempts in March.

Carmel Sweeney, a licensed clinical social worker, says kids usually show signs they are contemplating suicide such as school failure, a change of appetite or sleep disturbance. She says if someone knows another person who has suicidal thoughts, they should take them seriously and tell someone.

"It's usually a culmination of a long struggle. They've been struggling and haven't been able to resolve their problems," Sweeney says. "This is one of the ways they think about coping with it. 'If I die, all these problems will be gone.'"

Parents who are concerned about their children over the weekend are being told to call Mental Health Emergency Services at(919) 250-3133.

All weekend activities at the school have been canceled.

Funeral arrangements are pending.


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