District responds after fourth Perry Township student takes own life

Teen suicide victims in Perry Township. (Source: WOIO)
Teen suicide victims in Perry Township. (Source: WOIO)

STARK COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - Since August, four Perry Township students have committed suicide.

The latest happened on Jan. 1.

Family members say Brody McNutt, 14, and an eighth grader at Edison Middle School was charming, hilarious and caring. He reportedly shot himself.

Students in town say conversations about teen suicide are long overdue.

"A lot of the times if you just want to brush suicides like this under the rug, then you're missing the point completely. How are you going to fix it if you can't even admit that there's a problem?"  said Jay Smith, Massollin High School alumni.

Wednesday at B & K Cafe, parents and students expressed their concerns about the back to back deaths. Several recent graduates said they're all troubled and  feel teen suicide is almost like a fad now.

"You know everybody is tweeting how they want to die now but when it comes down to it, there are actually people who feel like that and I feel like it's kind of watered down because of the how much people are like, oh, I want to kill myself and I'm even guilty of that, you know?" said Jared With, Perry High School Alumni.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help with Brody's funeral costs.

Three other Perry High School students committed suicide last year; the first suicide was in August, the second in September and then November.

Counselors are currently at the middle school to help students and staff cope with this latest tragedy.

Statement from Perry Local School System:

The Perry Local School District is devastated over the loss of a middle school student on Jan. 1. The Perry Township Police Department has determined that this tragic loss is a non-school related issue and a police investigation is currently in progress.
"We are truly saddened by the loss of one of our middle school students," said Superintendent Scott Beatty. "The student and his family are in our thoughts and prayers."
The Stark County Coroner's Office determined that the middle school student died on Monday evening from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Counselors are on site in the school district and are available to assist students with the grief process.
"The safety and well-being of our students is always our top priority," said Beatty. "We will continue to be available to help our students during this difficult time. We ask that the community continues to support our students, parents and district. Together, we will get through this."

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