Local News

Edgecombe County Students Counseled After Teacher Suicide

Posted September 17, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Some students in Edgecombe County have a lot of questions after losing a popular teacher to an apparent suicide. Deputies found the body of 46-year-old Jamie Allen Wednesday morning in his truck in the parking lot of West Edgecombe School. Educators are helping students struggle through this potentially difficult time.

For many students Allen was a teacher they will never forget. He is best known for his nine years as a fourth-grade math instructor at West Edgecombe. Wednesday morning, deputies say he used a small-caliber hand gun to take his own life. His body was found just a few minutes before sunrise.

Edgecombe County School Superintendent Dr. David Bryant says students at both schools are receiving counseling.

The sudden, unexpected loss led county officials to assemble two crisis teams, one at West Edgecombe, the other at Phillips Middle school. Allen had requested a transfer to Phillips, a magnet school, just two weeks ago. Now, counselors and his fellow educators are left with the task of helping his students deal with their loss. The only advice they can offer to parents is to encourage their children to talk.

School spokesperson Diane LeFiles says parents should encourage their children to talk about their feelings.

Allen also leaves behind friends in law enforcement. He was a sheriff's deputy for 12 years in Pitt County before going back to college to become a teacher. He also worked as a DARE officer during his Pitt County law enforcement career.