Mount Anthony Union Middle School administrators say a student death over the weekend stunned the community. School officials say the 13-year-old student took her own life.
"As learning such news is overwhelming and can prompt a number of different reactions, our hearts are with the family and we are in support of their privacy and trust that others will respect this privacy, as well," said Catherine McClure, superintendent of the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union.
Officials say the seventh-grader, whose name is not being released, was taken to the hospital Sunday and passed away Monday.
"To date, there is no indication that bullying or cyberbullying is involved. Middle school parents who have specific concerns are encouraged to call their children's guidance counselors," McClure said.
The school has been offering online and counseling resources to help classmates cope with the apparent suicide.
"The first thing is to figure out how to promote kids grieving in a healthy way. So, figuring out who are their safe adults they can go to," Charlotte McCorkel explained.
McCorkel works for HowardCenter First Call, a Chittenden County hotline for young people in crisis. She says 13 is a young age for suicide, but crisis can happen in even younger children. Kids deal with grief in many different ways, so what is important now, she says, is for adults to find a way to talk about it with students.
"The best thing is to speak to kids directly," McCorkel said. "There's this rumor in the world that talking about suicide can plant the idea and research has shown that that's not the case. Talking about suicide really gets at the question is that an issue for that particular kid?"