A 16-year-old Chester student died by suicide Feb. 1. Information surrounding the death swirled on social media, so Plumas News reached out to Superintendent Terry Oestreich to ask how the district is addressing the loss. The male student had been attending Chester High School, but switched to Almanor High, which is located on the same campus, at the beginning of the semester.
During a somber conversation today, Feb. 3, Oestreich shared that this is the situation she most feared during these difficult times which have been so stressful on youth. She said the school staff had no indication that the student was at risk and that a lot of resources are being made available to students and staff in the wake of his death.
Following is the letter that she shared with all staff today:
It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the loss of one of our students who attended Chester JS High School/ Almanor HS, who took his own life on Tuesday, February 1st. Our sincere condolences are extended to the family, staff, and friends of our student. During this time, as the school community processes the loss and copes with grief, the following resources have and/or will offer counseling and bereavement support services to the parents, students, and staff.
- School Counselor
- Student Services Coordinator
- Youth pastors
- Law Enforcement
- Plumas County Behavioral Health
- Matt Reddam, MS MFT School and Community Wellness (Butte County Office of Education)
- Tehama County Office of Education has offered support services as well
The loss is a difficult and challenging situation that generates anxiety and distress. If you feel that you need to speak to a counselor or other caring adult, please reach out to the County/District Office at 283-6500. Additional information is also available on the following websites:
- Guidelines for Schools Responding to a Death by Suicide
- After Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools
- After a Student Suicide
- Coalition to support Grieving Students
- Guidelines for Responding to School Suicide
- National Alliance for Children’s Grief
- What Not To Say
This is a very challenging time for everyone. I am confident that we will all rely on each other as we grieve together and fondly remember our student.