Middle School Sends All Students Home After 8th-Grader Is Found Dead on Campus


A North Carolina middle school was dismissed early on Tuesday after an eighth-grade boy died on campus.

Wendell Middle School, in Wake County outside Raleigh, sent out a statement to parents announcing a 10:45 a.m. dismissal due to a “medical crisis.”

“This is an urgent message,” the statement said.

“Students are safe. We will be dismissing at 10:45 a.m. today, Sept. 6, due to a medical crisis on campus.”

Later in the afternoon, an update from the principal, Catherine Trudell, clarified that a boy had died on campus, but no cause for the death was given, the Herald Sun of Durham reported.

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“It is an unexpected loss, and we are saddened by it,” Trudell wrote, WRAL-TV reported.

“As a parent or guardian, you have the opportunity to decide if this is information you want to share,” Trudell wrote, according to WECT.

However, multiple social media posts and a Facebook post from a Raleigh church whose pastors went to the campus reported the student seemed to have died from an apparent suicide, the Herald Sun reported.

Due to federal privacy laws, however, Wake County school officials said that they would not be providing more details about the crisis without the consent of the deceased’s family.

Meanwhile, Trudell told school families that support resources, including the nonprofit group Transitions GriefCare, would be available on Wednesday for students.

“Transitions GriefCare offers a range of support services to help students explore, understand and express their grief. Their services are available to anyone in our community at no cost,” Trudell said, WECT reported.

The death at the school also took place the same day that the Wake County school board had a presentation on suicide awareness, part of the broader look at the district’s mental health improvement plan, the Herald Sun reported.

“Some of our schools are getting some unique challenges this week,” Wake County board chairwoman Lindsay Mahaffey said at the start of Tuesday’s regular meeting, according to the Herald Sun.

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“Although intentionally vague, I do want to lift them up and know that we’re thinking of them and holding them in our hearts,” she added.

Monika Johnson-Hostler, another board member, said she felt a pit in her stomach about what happened at the school, the Herald Sun reported.

Meanwhile, many throughout the community shared their support and prayers on social media for all those affected by this death.

“My heart breaks for the Wendell Middle School community. Please join me in lifting the family, students, and staff in your thoughts and prayers,” Tyler Swanson, a candidate for the Wake County Board of Education, wrote in a Twitter post.

“Our thoughts are with the students, staff, and families of Wendell Middle school. We will get through together,” Dena Nealy, principal at Wakelon Elementary School in Wake County, tweeted.

“All the love to the family and the community today,” Johnson-Hostler said at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

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