Perry High School implements suicide prevention program

MASSILLON, OH (WOIO) - It's been a difficult semester for students at Perry High School in Massillon.

Since they came back to school this fall, three students have committed suicide.

The last death, that of a girl named Kyleigh, happened this week.

School officials said they were looking into starting new programs to combat the rash of student suicides, and counselors were on hand throughout the day.

Some parents, including those of the victims, don't think that's enough.

"We thought as parents, we were doing everything we were supposed to do," Emmaline Brown said.

Her 14-year-old son, Raistlin, was a freshman at Perry.

She said he'd been bullied for years.

Brown said she went to school officials to try to stop it.

She even put Raistlin in counseling, a therapist who told him not to use social media while the abuse continued.

"It wasn't enough," Brown said.

A few weeks after Raistlin took his life, so did another Perry student.

This time, it was a junior, a 16-year-old named Nick.

Carrie Howard, his older sister, found his body, an experience she said has devastated her and her family.

"I don't think that it's just three people like this, and it's just going to stop out of nowhere. I think it will keep happening if they don't take any further action towards this. They should have taken it from the first. Raistlin. It shouldn't have taken three kids to do something about this," she said.

Just this week, a female student also took her life. Kyleigh's mother did not want to talk on camera, but family friends told Cleveland 19 News they believe bullying played a part in her death.

We contacted Perry High School officials, who did not return our calls.

A statement on their website said they will dedicate resources to suicide prevention, but did not mention bullying.

For now, parents at Perry say they'll take action on their own.

They're organizing, planning a meeting next Thursday. They want to talk about a wide variety of issues that impact students at Perry High School, but high on the list, the suicides.

Emmaline Brown, the mother of the first suicide victim, said she'll be there. She still has a daughter at the school, and she wants to make sure this doesn't continue.

"I decided that I couldn't just sit back and be quiet anymore. This is a huge issue that a lot of students and parents are dealing with," she said.

If you know someone struggling with the thoughts of suicide, there are resources to help.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

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