WILMINGTON — The local school community is dealing with the loss of an eighth-grade student.
Wilmington Middle School Principal Bert Martini told the News Journal Tuesday morning, “Our school community has lost a well-respected and loved student.”
The principal added that several students are utilizing the counseling services that were made available at the school. He anticipates students will continue to depend on the counseling services and on the school community “as everybody works through this difficult circumstance.”
Police have confirmed that the death, which occurred Monday evening, is being investigated as a suicide.
A statement posted Tuesday on the Wilmington Middle School Facebook page reads:
“It is with deep sadness that we share with you that one of our 8th-grade students passed away last night. As a school community we are grieving with her family, teachers, and fellow students. We want to assure you that the Crisis Team met with the WMS staff early this morning and we will have all school counselors, along with staff from Solutions, available throughout the day at WMS for grief counseling. Please encourage your child to talk with you, a counselor, teacher, or administrator if they are having trouble dealing with the loss of their friend.
“We are not authorized at this time to share any details about the circumstances of her death, nor would it be appropriate. It’s important as teachers, counselors, administrators, and parents that we encourage students to talk with an adult if they have concerns, to be respectful of the family’s grief and the memory of their child, and to not spread rumors. This is a time to pull together and to support each other through a difficult time.
“As administrators, teachers, counselors, and parents, we often struggle to find the right words to help children understand death, when we ourselves don’t have all of the answers. If you are looking for ways to talk with your child about a death or tragedy, we encourage you to read our resource document Suggestions for Parents When Responding to a Death. The document can be found on our Parent Resources page on the District’s website wilmingtoncityschools.com/parent-resources .
“The shock and depth of this loss greatly impacts our school community. In the days, weeks, and months to come, it is important that we continue to look out for each other and support our students. Please join our WCS staff in sending our thoughts and prayers to a family that has suffered a tremendous loss.”
Amanda Foster, whose child is a friend of the student, told the News Journal there will be two separate prayer vigils on Wednesday to show support for the student, her family and loved ones. The first one will be between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the Clinton County Courthouse, and the second vigil will be between 6 and 8 p.m. at the Wilmington Middle School.
The News Journal will share any additional information as it becomes available.