Dear F-M families and staff,
As we move forward with the healing process after the horrible tragedy of losing sophomore Jay Lu, I want to thank all of our students, staff and community members for their outpouring of support. We have pulled together in the past week, and as we continue to grieve, please keep reaching out to one another. There is always someone or somewhere that you can turn for help.
Each of our schools has at least one school counselor, school psychologist and school information resource officer, as well as an assigned family-school liaison, who—in addition to our wonderful teaching and support staff—are resources for all of us. We are looking at ways to better help parents and students get to know these individuals, as well as how and when to reach out to them.
We also need to work on making sure that all of our students, at all grade levels and especially those who are struggling with mental health issues, know there are people in each of our schools who are there to help them when they are in distress so they don’t suffer in silence, or if they or a parent knows of someone who is hurting, who they can talk with to get that person help.
We have heard from our families that they need help, too, whether it be understanding what resources are available to them through the district or the community or how to talk with their students about such topics as suicide, mental health and the grieving process. We will be creating opportunities to better support our families in these areas. There are some resources already on the district website, and we will be adding more, as well as looking for ways to better connect with our families on these types of topics.
We are grateful for the offers from local community experts and groups to partner with us. This past week, we worked with the state Office of Mental Health and the county to provide additional grief counseling resources through Contact Community Services, and we will continue to look for collaborations like this that would benefit our students and their families.
We have recognized the need for more student mental health support, and that’s why each year we add to our programs and services in this area, whether it’s through hiring additional counseling department staff or securing partnerships with local mental health professionals to provide direct services to our students in need.
The support from our greater community this past week has been appreciated by all of us here at F-M, and I feel lucky to be part of a community that is so caring. School counselors from neighboring districts jumped in to help our students process the loss of their classmate, the East Area Support Network is reconvening and on Tuesday, our students organized a vigil that was filled with love and support for Jay, his family and friends and our entire community.
Please remember to ask for help if you need it, and if you have questions about this topic for district officials, our Let’s Talk communication tool is a quick and easy resource. Take care of yourselves and your friends and family. I hope we all find peace in the days ahead.
Craig J. Tice