By Mark Rountree
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Stillwater Public Schools teamed with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health for a suicide prevention workshop Monday at Meridian Technology Center.
Approximately 150 people, including about 75 teachers, attended the seminar, which was being held one month after the death of Cade Poulos, an 13-year-old eighth-grader who committed suicide in a hallway at Stillwater Junior High School.
“This is just the first step,” said Stillwater Public Schools Superintendent Ann Caine, who pledged after Poulos’ death that the district would refocus its efforts on youth suicide prevention. “We have to be more open. We need to be more transparent and have those difficult conversations with students and with our staff and figure out if we are doing everything we can. We know we can’t do it all ourselves. We know it’s a partnership between the school and the community and the home.”
Monday’s seminar featured a presentation by Scott Fritz, founder of the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. Fritz said he was inspired to begin the organization after the suicide of Stephanie, his 15-year-old daughter, nearly nine years ago.
Fritz said he has since been on a mission with his organization to educate teachers, schools and parents on identifying signs that a child may be potentially suicidal.