Two Suicides At Barstow High School In The Last Month

BARSTOW — Two years after a rash of suicides beset Riverside Preparatory School in the Oro Grande School District, two high school students at Barstow High School fordid themselves last month.
School officials and law enforcement authorities have confirmed that a 15-year-old boy died on April 13, in the 1600 block of Church St. in Barstow, and an 18-year-old student died on April 30, in the 27000 block of Rimrock Road in Barstow.
According to Barstow Unified School District Superintendent Jeff Malan, the former was a freshman and the latter was a senior at the high school.
Malan posted a letter on the district’s website to parents of students at the school on May 5. “I believe that it is imperative that I reach out and partner with you and our community as a whole to keep our youth safe by providing encouragement, support, referral and intervention as needed,” Malan wrote. “This important responsibility requires the active involvement of the entire community which includes parents, families, educators, students and community members engaged with youth. The identification of ‘at risk’ youth for causing harm to oneself is important in preventing tragic events from occurring and one institution or organization alone cannot achieve this important goal.”
Malan said the community must focus on “Taking prevention steps with those known to be at risk to cause harm to oneself and identifying others at risk as well. We must reach out to others and refer our youth to appropriate community agencies for support when any may be suspected to be a potential harm to oneself or others. It is important that you gently and lovingly speak with your children regarding your concern about their emotional well-being, as well as the need to partner with them in keeping their peers safe by informing you or any responsible and trusted adult of any students that they believe to be ‘at risk’ for causing harm to oneself.”
Last year at Riverside Preparatory School, also located in the Mojave Desert some 36 miles away from Barstow in the community of Oro Grande, three students attending that accelerated learning facility took their own lives between February and May 2014.
Those involved the death of a 15-year-old girl in early February 2014 and that of a 16-year-old boy later that month, followed by the apparent suicide of a 13-year-old boy on May 21, 2014.
There was concern expressed at that time that the sheer academic intensity of the Riverside Preparatory School program may have been a contributory factor in the deaths. The father of the 15-year-old said he believed his daughter had been driven to suicide as a result of the bullying she was subjected to by her peers.

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