The tragic death of 12-year-old Santos Chavez, a student at Delta Middle School, resulted in an immediate response from school administrators and district staff.
Assistant superintendent Kurt Clay explains that in times of crisis, school psychologists, counselors and administrators meet early in the morning to discuss how and what they'll tell students.
The message is based on the family's wishes, he said, as well as the age and maturity level of the students.
"We never want to mislead kids," he said, "and we never want to tell them subtleties they can interpret differently. It's important the message be direct and truthful, so we don't lose credibility."
Follow-up is a critical piece, Clay said. The school psychologists and counselors are contacting the kids who had a particularly tough week. It's fall break and kids may be home alone, so it's doubly important to make sure somebody touches base with them, Clay said.
Youth ministers from throughout the community have also been involved. As volunteers in the school, they have established relationships with students and staff members who have also been affected by the death.
Santos Chavez was a well-liked student who excelled both academically and athletically. He has been described as happy, energetic and a role model. Many find it difficult to believe that such a promising young man would take his own life.
Although Chief Robert Thomas said the Delta Police Department has not completed its investigation, he agrees with the coroner's determination that the death was caused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The DPD's investigation is concerned with the "why."
An estimated 1,000 people attended a funeral service which was held at St. Michael's Catholic Church last week. Santos is survived by his parents and two siblings, as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family.blog comments powered by Disqus