A fourth Schenectady High School student took her life Thursday night, school officials confirmed. Three other young women have committed suicide since late November.
The 14-year-old was found dead inside a Victory Avenue home just before 10:30 p.m., police said. Authorities did not release the student’s identity.
The latest death left school officials asking for help to get suicide prevention information out to parents.
Superintendent of Schools Eric Ely said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened that a student took her own life last night and we are also deeply concerned about the impact that this and other recent tragedies are having on our students, staff and community. This is a plea to you to help us share important resources during these difficult times. We need the help of everyone in our community, including the media.”
District officials noted efforts at outreach and support for teens and adults in trouble. A community and school task force met early Friday. Most of the members were at the high school providing outreach, screenings, preventive counseling and grief counseling.
“Our goal as a school community,” Ely said, “is to reach every child and adult who feels alone, is hurt, desperate and needs help.”
District officials reached out for help Friday. It was a quick response after some had criticized the effectiveness of response to the first three student deaths. For three months, district officials kept quiet the suicides, the first in November, the second in February, the third March 1.
After the third death, the district decided silence had become more dangerous than publicity.
The school tried to head off suicides by offering grief counselors after the first girl killed herself on Nov. 25.
Since then, five of her friends tried to kill themselves, and two died. It was unclear if Thursday night’s death was related.
In releasing the information Friday, the district emphasized that it was not intended to address the specifics of the tragedy, or glamorize the act, but a request to get information out about the issue.
“We have to get more information to more people and fast,” Ely said.