Students at Plymouth High School are mourning the loss of a fellow classmate.
17-year-old David Bacon III was pronounced dead on Sunday following a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Administrators with the Plymouth Community School Corporation are now working to provide students the resources they need to properly grieve.
Plymouth Schools Superintendent Dan Tyree says counselors from the school corporation and the Bowen Center are available.
“When there’s a tragedy like this, they send counselors to us,” says Tyree. “Counselors who are trained to deal with grieving children and also counselors who are trained to deal with grieving children where a classmate or a friend has committed suicide.”
Sunday’s incident is considered the first suicide in decades at the high school.
Tyree says “memory walls” have been erected on which students can write and express themselves. The writings will later be delivered to the family.
The victim was a member of the varsity football roster. It was advised the football team may still practice, and host a team dinner afterwards. Most activities at Plymouth High School were cancelled on Monday.
Tyree says that after opening the school on Sunday night to offer a venue to grieve, experts helped the school corporation develop a “watch list” for certain students.
“They noticed that several students were having a more difficult time than others,” says Tyree. “Those are students that are on the watch list. Also students that David was very good friends with, or his girlfriend, or girls he had dated in the past.”
One of the main concerns for the administration is preventing additional suicides in a close time frame to an emotional event. Tyree says he was not surprised to see the outpouring of community support in the face of tragedy.
Plans are currently to allow students to leave school on an honor’s system, with a parental note, once funeral arrangements are announced.