According to reports, a dense community in northwestern Michigan is in ruins after a series of student suicides.
The village of Kingsley, home to 1,600 people, is looking for answers for eight months for eight students, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.
The Kingsley School District was shocked for the first time in June by the suicide of 16-year-old DeAnte Blane. Four months later, 14-year-old Kayden Stone mourned the city again.
Hundreds of people have come together to mourn the 14-year-old Shealynn Pobuda, who died earlier this month, the newspaper said.
"The death of a student takes a big toll on the school, and the death of each child affects the entire community," Keith Smith's director of record told Record Record. "When we first got out of school that definitely shocked us. Before we got back to school, we had the second, and that really got us on our tail. Then we had this. Everyone is incredible in and of themselves. "
Smith said that Shaelynn's death on February 3 was a break in a "Norman, Rockwell-style, all-American town."
"I sat down and cried for an hour," he told the Washington Post. "I just can not take it anymore … you just get overwhelmed by emotions."
The school district has teamed up with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to include more publicity in the curriculum. Other efforts include parenting events to increase awareness.
"If there's a parent who thinks he's exempt, they're naive and maybe a bit ignorant – because it could be their child tomorrow," Kayden's father, Bill Stone, told Record-Eagle. "My child was one of the most unlikely candidates you could ever think of, but here I am now."
The theme Kingsley addresses reflects a national trend. The suicide rate has risen dramatically among children 10 to 17 years of age, rising 70 percent between 2006 and 20016, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
"All we have to do is make sure there are systems in all schools, not just Kingsley," school psychologist Marv Nordeen told The Record-Eagle.