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Sammamish Teen Commits Suicide at Skyline High School

Police say the teen called officers at 9:30 p.m. last night.

Sammamish Police confirmed that a 16-year-old student of Skyline High School took his own life last night, Dec. 13.

At about 9:30 p.m., the teen called 9-1-1 and told dispatchers what he intended to do, said Sergeant Jessica Sullivan. Officers arrived at the school's parking lot about 4 minutes after the initial call, where they found the boy.

There are resources available for children at risk; please refer to this Sammamish-Issaquah Patch article, in which professionals discuss following the 2011 suicide.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Youth Eastside Services offers mental health/teen suicide prevention counseling and support as well.

Skyline sent the following message out to families this morning:

Dear Skyline Community,

We have shared some very sad news with our staff and students this morning, and I wanted you to be the next to know: One of our students died last night in the lower parking area of campus. Sammamish Police confirm that it was suicide.  While I cannot share more details out of respect for the student's family, our primary concern is supporting our school community during this difficult time. We have a crisis plan in place, which includes extra counselors, outreach to students and staff we know were close to the student, and preparation by all of our staff to help students process and to be watchful for signs of grief.

Some students may feel more comfortable talking to you at home or they may delay signs of grieving. Further, an event such as this may generate in your student a resurgence or reflection of grief if they have lost a loved one.  As such, when considering what to say during such a sensitive conversation, the main goal is to help your student express his/her feelings in a safe and supportive environment. It is often best to respond with empathetic statements of understanding rather than trying to change your child's feelings or cheer him/her up.

Please be on the lookout for significant change in any of these physical or emotional behaviors that might indicate grief in your child:

  • Sadness
  • Anger, irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness
  • Numbness, indifference, detachment
  • Listlessness
  • Headaches
  • Stomachaches
  • Nausea
  • Change in appetite

Do not hesitate to call our counseling center at 425-837-7887 for guidance or more information—we want all of our students to have the assistance they need during this sorrowful time. There are also many good resources about grief available online.

Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased student.  We believe in our common strength together as the Spartan community as we move forward supporting each other in the days to come.

Sincerely,
Principal Lisa Hechtman

Jbar December 15, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I don't know the circumstances surrounding this particular tragedy, but if you don't believe that social tiers exist at Skyline you are kidding yourself. It is born out of over zealous parents and trickles down to their entitled kids. Want an example? Just go sit in the parents section at any event and you'll hear some of the most ungodly things to ever cross your ears. Over zealous parents, spoiled & entitled kids plus an administration that has no backbone to stand up to these parents equals threats on the Internet, student suicide and teachers leaving (for what ever reasons, draw your own conclusions) at an alarming rate. The district needs to overhaul this school starting at the top!!!
Jeanne Gustafson December 15, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I deleted the most recent comment here, out of respect for the young man's family. It's our general policy to not name victims of suicide unless we have permission from the family. Here is the comment from Anonymous, with the name redacted: Stop! Enough. Shame on all of you. Be respectful for gods sake!!! You are offending the very kids and families in mourning. [He] was a great guy, surrounded by friends, supportive teachers, and a beautiful family. Stop turning this issue into your own personal sob story. Sympathize with the family, look in to the truth and realize the reason he did this has not been announced. Stop turning this into a battle of wealthy and not wealthy. Lets celebrate this 16 year olds life. Lets celebrate and come together as a community.
samparent December 15, 2012 at 07:22 PM
This post is accurate w parents so concerned w how they look to others that they put a huge amount of stress on the kids then spoil them & don't tell them no. I don't know this child & what I am about to say is not about this child & his family, but I do live in the community & work there as well. The kids in general are so over committed to things that they feel an incredible amount of stress & it is just accepted as normal. No one seems to support down time for kids bc over-achievement is a direct positive reflection on the parents. Kids are encouraged to overachieve to their detriment. ex:kids w huge cavities are put off by the parents because the coaches won't "allow" them to miss a practice. Parents (this is a constant thing)then choose for the kids to miss class time over sports bc their kids 'need' to play. There are twisted up priorities here & I just wish parents would put their children's mental health needs first (again I am not speaking about this child). This community is so used putting on a perfect face for everyone, everyone is always "doing fantastic" &their children are super achievers. It is very important for them to look perfect (important to their parents as well). Sometimes you can do everything possible & still have this horrible result. However, I do hope that this will put a spotlight on a community that strives for perfection so intensely that the children pay the price if they aren't able to perform to that level.
Hello. December 15, 2012 at 08:04 PM
By blaming skyline, you are falsely generalizing and in a way, stereotyping and bullying the people. If you don't have any evidence of what the school like IS NOW, do not make any assumptions. I'm a student there right now, and believe I am not where close to being in the "popular crowd" (THAT EVERY SCHOOL HAS) yet I love the school. The people are nice, respectful and caring. The teachers are phenomenal, absolutely the best teachers and individuals that I have ever met. Please diverge your immature attitudes somewhere else, and celebrate his life. And send condolences to his friends (MANY WHO ATTEND SKYLINE) and family.
Hello. December 15, 2012 at 08:30 PM
He wasn't bullied. It might have been the academic pressure of skyline or family problems, we don't know. But we do know that he was not bullied. You don't have to be a victim of bullying to commit suicide. Don't be so narrow-minded.
Rae December 16, 2012 at 12:50 AM
I must say bullying takes on many faces whether you are harrassed,hit&kicked,or anything else no one knows what happen but if anybody remembers and recalls something not to long ago happen at skyline threats from a student that went there to and everyone I talk to don't like skyline either as many of you must know the pressure there at skyline is high and some kids can't cut it and they look for ways out there has been focus and more focus on that school Ism sorry but I haven't heard Issaquah high in the news In libarty high or any other school in the Issaquah District and some of the administration. Will not send their kids there they will send them to out of district schools interesting huh?..just because you are a student there that's doing well don't keen nothing but for the ones that might be hurting who knows what will be next how many problems will happen at the school before they know there might be a problem? And like one person said there is a police station right across the street why did it take 6mins or more to get to him..
Anon. December 16, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Oh hey Rae, please get yourself educated. Or at least learn some correct grammar.
Federico Nava December 16, 2012 at 02:12 AM
It's so interesting to read from the people with axes to grind about Skyline High School. I'm sure they've been waiting for something like this to happen in order to justify the rancor they feel for the school and its community. It is disheartening and understandable but like the parents who are accused of projecting their superiority onto their kids, I believe it goes both ways. I'm sure there are parents that project their sense of inferiority onto their kids which can be just as destructive to the school community. Skyline is not a perfect school. There is no school on this planet that is perfect. I do believe that Skyline is filled with people that are dedicated to making the school a better place for all students. This includes the faculty and the student body.
Federico Nava December 16, 2012 at 02:13 AM
This entire area is filled with fairly (even "very") wealthy families but there are plenty of middle-class families. There are plenty of examples of "Keeping up with the Joneses" throughout the area. I'm sure everyone who reads this can come up with more than one example. But there are also plenty of families that could care less about what material possessions their neighbors have. I try to equip my children with the right tools to deal with situations they encounter on a daily basis. I try to help them develop a sense of self-worth, a strong identity, and solid self-esteem. It's not easy and it takes repeated work. They can't do it on their own. They need family and friends, people they can trust. It's when they feel that they don't have that support network is when the problems occur; when they feel they have no other choice.
Craig December 16, 2012 at 07:50 AM
Let it rest... Let him rest. Silence please
YG December 16, 2012 at 09:32 AM
I agree with you. The school is an awesome place and although I am also nowhere near the popular crowd, I know that the majority of the students are nice and caring. Those who criticize Skyline don't really know it. Either they are rival schools, or people judging the school based on one thing they heard that may have been a rumor. The reaction in the school was devastating the next day and I can say without a doubt that everyone was affected by his death though they may not have been close to him. Many people are organizing events to honor his death and by turning this tragic story into a reason to insult and hate on Skyline is just unreasonable.
Danelle Docken December 16, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I am so sorry for the families loss. Suicide is extremely hard to deal with as I am dealing with my own loss of a suicide, and my heart and prayers go to this family. Please support the family instead of pointing fingers. They will need everyones support for a long time. Suicide is hard enough to understand let alone find fault. Don't blame, but celebrate the beautiful things this young man did in his life and feel blessed for being touched by him within his life, that is a true blessing.
Greg Johnston (Editor) December 16, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Wise words Danelle, thank you, and my thoughts are with you as well. -Greg
Cari December 16, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Well he may have been a great kid and surrounded by many loving people but none of these loving people knew he was unhappy or cared enough about him to talk to him about his everyday life, his dreams and ambitions or his demons (anxieties, troubles etc). I am sure he felt very alone. What a shame. This is just another example of lack of communication with kids and lack of mental health treatment.
Vivi December 16, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Good morning to EVERYONE & I say that because some kind of open and loving communication is needed, especially in the wake of what happened in Connecticut. No blame or shame! We are all hurting! There is no debate! Children should not be experiencing life with incredible stress, fear and sorrow! But they do! and why? watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op7agdIFOGY ~ Has there ever been a worst or best time in history? Very little time in history has been without WAR and GREED, COMPETITION! Children are born innocent and NOT interested in MATERIALISM or hatred. We write & preach about being reasonable but children need and want to be understood emotionally. The pressure is great in childhood, living within the structures of schedules, ambition, competition, while fear and then prejudice prevail. The 'authorities' in a child's life are also confused about what to value in life. I believe that we're arguing over apples and oranges, because we are all complicit. A child is a gift to the world, born innocent without the desire to succeed to have a lot of $ or status. Children want love, nature, not worry about brand names, not worry about anything, but we're far from that, this country is deep in trouble, so stop fighting about who is right. Children are the true victims of a world partying on the 'golden calf,' and we were once those children! All of my prayers go out to this young man's family and that IS the only important thing NOW!
Vivi December 16, 2012 at 07:59 PM
oops, rest of my message wasn't sent. I wanted to still share. :) ......There IS so much goodness and natural beauty and love in this world. We KNOW that! Hope and faith in LOVE is eternal. There is no opposite to LOVE. Have you noticed how EVIL backwards is LIVE! So gauge for yourself, create a scale of 0 to ? for yourself, sit with your family and talk about how to evaluate [see the VALUE in that word?] how you are living. When my kids were growing up I was a kind of demanding mama insisting we have family meetings and air our concerns and our appreciation. We had fair and kindness rules of how to share the resentments or hurt feelings or anger. They got to vote on family decisions. Our children do not belong to us, yet they get treated like fixtures of our lives, extensions of our ambitions. As Kahlil Gibran wrote "they are the arrows, we are the bows." But how many kids have true freedom? So I beg you to search your OWN soul and instead of hoping tragedy and violence never touches you, or that you can judge why ANYTHING happens!....[because each time someone is murdered, raped, molested, neglected, abandoned, killed in war, etc. on and on, WE ARE ALL AFFECTED!] The WHOLE world weeps. Sorrow isn't for special interests. It is NEVER too late to wake up and seek a simple life. Do onto others is not just a religious cliche.
Vivi December 16, 2012 at 08:02 PM
I was not raised religiously, I was allowed to find my way but I do remember a country church I wore shorts to and picnics in those woods. I do remember this song: Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! THAT song was tucked someplace into my being and has stayed all of my life and I know now after much healing work that I SO needed that as a little child, I needed to know someone loved me very much. I truly though Jesus was a man who loved me and I didn't have a lot of love from a man then that I felt safe and convinced I was loved. LOVE all children, everywhere, all the time and you will find that the LOVE you need for yourself is there. For some people it's too far gone, and then we have to help and love them. STOP feeding into the crazy world out there. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple. end of my story. LOVELIGHT to all! Winter Solstice...go into your heart and find your light and let it shine. [no diamonds please, they come from violence of children and peoples!] this is what is important: For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends.”~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Heather December 17, 2012 at 05:39 AM
Agreed I went to ihs years ago and it had the typical social tiers found in the rest of society what should be the focus is this dear boy and the terrible and clearly desparate cry for help the anguish that must have been felt by him to take such drastic measures such a loss of a precious life his light will be forever missed to the grieving family God go with you and hold u up and give u strength
Anonymous December 17, 2012 at 07:19 AM
While I'm glad to hear that you don't experience bullying at SHS, that certainly doesn't mean that the school doesn't have a problem. I'm not saying that it was the cause of his suicide but as a *current* student of SHS, I have seen bullying first hand and have friends that have been bullied. I know every school has bullying, but like some others said already, a lot of times the cause of the bullying at Skyline is money. It is a sad reality that the district seems to be blind to or they simply don't care. Also, you claim you don't think he was bullied and that he wouldn't be a target anyway and then go on to say that you didn't know him well. Most people would not advertise the fact that they are bullied and much of the bullying these days is over the internet. So only him, the bullies, and maybe a couple friends and family members would have known, unless he asked for help, which unfortunately many do not. Again I'm not assuming that bullying was the cause, but it is definitely something the community doesn't take seriously enough. My thoughts are with his family and close friends as they come together and grieve. He will be greatly missed. The community and world in general lost a fantastic young man thursday. RIP.
Anon December 17, 2012 at 09:08 AM
@anonymous who responded to me and current student and other various comments (not sure how to directly respond on this site) I hate to try to debate anything here, as it's simply disrespectful. The world lost a brilliant young man who had a bright future. I know from some of his closer friends that he was not bullied at school (I am a current student as well, not sure if I mentioned that). That's the jist of it, really. We can speculate all we want and debate about whether or not bullying is actually a problem, but what it comes down to is we probably will never know and we should tread carefully while speculating. I don't deny that bullying happens at skyline, just that in this case we can say that bullying, in a traditional sense, was not a factor. Emotional implications and pressures are all up for speculation, and it's really not the best thing to speculate on, rather we should remember him for who he was. To be honest, I see nothing more to say than that. I don't want to offend his memory by trying to pry for answers that arent in front of us. To his families and close friends (some of whom I know), I have sympathy. This was hard on all of us as a community, I can only imagine the pain you are experiencing.
Anon December 17, 2012 at 09:12 AM
Essentially, what I'm trying to say is, leave your sympathies and nothing more. Let his memory and him rest in peace.
Anonymous December 17, 2012 at 06:33 PM
The reason why we sometimes want to take our own lives is because we feel lonely depressed or unloved and we can't take it anymore we show a beautiful smile and act normal on the outside but in the inside we feel unhappy our soul is crying but we feel ashame expressing our feelings out to anyone cause either they don't want to hear or they don't really care to ask and since they see the person fine people think nothing wrong is situations of soo many things we are facing and you get to the point that nothing matters we are just thinking about how we feeling soo much anger so much pressure you get mix feelings cause you have so much in your shoulders you get fraustred upsad and all those feeling just are boiling in the inside of you just take control of your live and we forget that someone we trust wont laugh about what's happening in close doors, but this can get fix when the only person who gave me a second change saw my misery spare my life and I cry out like a baby and told him that I can't go on like this my heart feels heavy and I feel tormented and I can go on with my life God gave me the peace of mine in my heart soul and mined and now every time I feel sad or depress I pray to him and he sues my pain
Bob Okanonymous December 18, 2012 at 06:05 AM
I almost succeeded at suicide in 1986. I took two full bottles of someone elses medication. They were barbiturates. I drank half of a half gallon of alcohol along with it. I planned to do it in front of my "friends" that I was living with because they listened to music about doing evil things, and treated others with disrespect intentionally. I ripped up their Venom, and other "death metal" tapes. I always felt they were friends to me alone in person, but that when others were around- they would "smart mouth" me. It's real of course, and it's a form of evil. You know, the sound of a pre-emptively smirking snide laugh behind you, and everyone wonders if someone is laughing at them because of the sound of it? The sound is like, "hey look at this idiot," kind of laugh. Well that's one thing right there. It's a biggie too because we all need love and validation, and we want to look good in front of people. I find that we as humans require one thing above all others: validation. Deep down we know this, and many of us humans withhold validation from others, or skew it intentionally. It's like kicking a puppy. Why do people do that? It's evil. I'm not brainwashed to think everything is my fault, and life is what i make it. Life is to endure, and win, and share with a loved one. I know this person probably wasn't bullied that his loved ones know of, and I have the most sincere sympathy for him and those who mourn his death.
DG December 18, 2012 at 06:40 AM
You make a lot of sense. I went to a similar high school 30+ years ago and we had two suicides that I can remember. Then we had one in my fraternity in college. They were all completely different circumstances. No one can know what was truly going on in the kids minds, except maybe parents, but that is not always easy as I am a parent myself. I'm not sure there are more suicides today than there were back then. Maybe just easier to hear about with the internet news. Probably more random gunshot killings unfortunately however.
Jen48084 December 18, 2012 at 12:11 PM
While it always seems as though we are all quick to blame the school environment, I suspect the problem may begin closer to home. I'm 41 and I don't know about anyone else, but I remember bullies in high school - some pretty severe. But when I was a teenager and vented my hurt and anger to my parents, I wasn't competing with a smartphone for their attention. Kids are cruel and they've been cruel for generations. The human condition doesn't change. What seems to have changed is our ability to assist our children in navigating their way to well-adjusted adulthood. That may be the biggest tragedy of all....sadly, everything else is collateral damage.
Megan l December 18, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Schools dont actually care anymore. My 10 year old was expelled from the cloverpark school district because of a a suicide attempt on dec. 3. When I finally got a call back from the assst. Superintendant I told him how long my little boy had been beinng tormented at school and how the principal did nothing, he told me that in light of the events in connecticut there would be no point in trying to file an appeal. I moved to this state almost 2 years ago, with two perfectly well adjusted boys, and look what washington public schools have done for us!!!
Federico Nava December 18, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Megan, I hope you haven't given up. There are people that do care but you need to find them for the sake of your two boys. In situations like yours, the parents have to make the effort when no one else seems willing to. Best wishes.
Randy Janes December 18, 2012 at 04:43 PM
This has been a problem in that area for 50 years, I went to Redmond SR.High in the late 60's and the kids from the sammamish area were rich brats back then. I saw bullying and social economic status running amuck back then. Things haven't changed, very sad for our community and our country as a whole.
Jeanne Gustafson December 18, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Hi all, I want to thank you all for sharing your opinions so far, to share with you some tips and resources from Friends of Youth. If you take a look at the beginning of the article, I think you will see that Skyline High School has not cornered the market on tragedy or bullying in our area. http://patch.com/A-00sY
Erica Hill January 02, 2013 at 09:24 PM
Be kind and always LOVING to one another....we as community need to always teach that to our children....so very sad. He was a blessing to my son and was a great tutor....may his spirit rest peacefully....GOD BLESS his family at this painful time...my thoughts and prayers are with you...

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