LEWISTON — Lewiston Middle School teachers, students and families were told Tuesday about an unexpected death of a female student.

“We grieve for her and her family,” schools Superintendent Bill Webster said.

Counseling and support services for students were offered Tuesday and will continue.

The School Department will support the girl’s family any way it can “during this tragic time,” Webster said.

The death happened before school opened and not at school, Webster said.

The cause of death was not released Tuesday.

Information is being sent to parents, including a brochure called “Supporting Teens Through Difficult Times,” which includes warning signs of behavior that warrant intervention, including depression and suicide.

The brochure also offers community resources.

“School was not normal today,” Webster said. An assembly was held. Parents were contacted to let them know they could take their students home. Some did.

Counselors, including Tri-County Mental Health, helped students cope, as did teachers and administers.

Wednesday will be a regular school day, but counseling will continue to be available to students.

On Thursday night, a “community conversation” about how to support students will be held, and will include advice from experts. That will begin at 6:30 p.m. at The Green Ladle at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center.

Suicide is one of the topics parents need to think about regarding the health of their children, Webster said.

According to the Washington Post and USA Today, mental health experts are warning about copycat suicides from teenagers who watch the Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why,” which is about teen suicide.

Webster said he’s not sure whether the conversation about suicide on social media and in the public is helpful or hurtful, but he is concerned hearing about a number of students who’ve watched “13 Reasons Why” without their parents involvement or knowledge.

Earlier this month, the district sent a letter to parents regarding the Netflix series with tips for parents and teens. 


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