LEWISTON — School Superintendent Bill Webster released a statement at noon Thursday saying he was not aware of any adult, inside or outside the school, who was made aware that the Lewiston Middle School student who died Tuesday was bullied.

According to Webster’s statement, two of her classmates approached him directly “to say that she was not being bullied. This does not mean that bullying did not take place. It does mean that we can never stop doing work to encourage children to come forward to an adult when they are struggling with the unkind words and actions of others.”

According to the statement, Webster said he had spoken with the student’s father, who made two suggestions that he has given the school department permission to share.

“First, he suggests that if a school believes a student may be at risk of suicide, the school should immediately send the student to the hospital, and that hospitals will take these situations more seriously if the referral is made directly from the school.”

And, “second, the father believes that if a parent comes to a school expressing a concern about their child struggling with life, the school’s response should be that the child should immediately go to a hospital, and that referring parents to mental health providers is insufficient and allows too much time to pass.”

According to Webster’s statement, “protocols in schools today include contacting and releasing to a parent when their child is deemed at risk of harming themselves. We have an exceptionally dedicated staff, and we will be working with them to consider these proposals, in order to ensure that students at risk continue to be supported in the best manner possible.”

Advertisement

Police have not officially released the manner of the student’s death, but school officials this week sent parents information on hos to support teens “through difficult times,” and that suicide was a topic parents should discuss with their children.

On Wednesday, as many as 200 middle school students left class to rally in front of the school, calling on school officials to help their peers at risk.

Wednesday night, students and teachers held a vigil for the deceased student at the school. And, tonight the school department will hold a community conversation at 6:30 p.m. at the Green Ladle to discuss issues facing teens and what parents and teachers can do to support them.

This story will be updated.

Superintendent Bill Webster


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.