Trigger warning: suicide
Anna Zamenski met her greatest pal, Julia McCarthy, once they had been in kindergarten within the Rockwood School District in St. Louis. The two grew up collectively till, tragically, Julia died by suicide the summer time earlier than their sophomore yr of highschool. Anna doesn’t need her pal’s reminiscence to be misplaced among the many pomp and circumstance of commencement — one which she would have attended. She has petitioned the varsity to depart an empty chair at commencement in her honor. At first the varsity stated OK, however now, they’ve modified their tune.
Maureen Zamenski, Anna’s mom, advised Scary Mommy that each one her daughter is asking for is a chair. She doesn’t desire a statue erected or her identify even spoken at commencement. She merely needs her remembered by her classmates and people attending the commencement.
Zamenski and her mates began a petition in an effort to vary the administration’s thoughts. What started as a bit of paper has was a big on-line marketing campaign. It is their feeling that if they’ve sufficient assist from the neighborhood, it would show that they’re able to see an empty seat at commencement. That petition has greater than 33,000 signatures.
Parents have additionally gotten concerned. They have emailed a number of members of the administration displaying their assist of their youngsters. Many really feel that they’re ready for such a memorial. Don Re, a involved dad or mum, stated in a Facebook Post, “I was thinking about this last night. Most of the kids sitting at that graduation will be old enough to vote and to join the military and fight for this country. If they are triggered by the sight of an empty chair or by hearing the name of a classmate they lost then the school has failed them.”
Rockwood Summit High School Principal Dr. Emily McCown emailed involved dad and mom stating partially, “Our decision comes from discussions with our counseling staff as well as local experts from West County Psychological Associates, whose training sessions we have attended. The advisement of experts is for schools to not create physical memorials for students who have passed. We certainly understand that for some these may be viewed as memorials to celebrate but for others, it can be a trigger for their mental health.”
Some college students don’t really feel that the varsity helps them to grieve the dying of their classmate or taking suicide or psychological well being significantly sufficient. Hannah Menke, a junior, posted to a Rockwood Summit dad and mom’ Facebook web page that she doesn’t really feel supported by her faculty, “Freshman year I went to get help because I wasn’t doing well mentally. I went to see the counselors. The counselor was busy. They sent me to the principal’s office. The principal was not prepared for what I was going to say. He wasn’t a counselor but the counselors were busy doing schedules so my mental health was pushed aside. Eventually the counselor told me that I wasn’t suicidal. She just said that. She said I had goals for my future and that meant I wasn’t suicidal. I had one counseling session and was sent right back to class. That is the help they give. I haven’t been back since.”
She is just not the one individual feeling unsupported by the varsity’s counseling division. Zamenski advised KMOV, “When I made the petition, half the kids didn’t even know she had passed.” She stated the varsity made no announcement nor provided assist. “When I went to my counselor, I was basically told to get over it.”
Scary Mommy contacted McCown for remark, “Thank you for reaching out to better understand this story. Unfortunately some of the narrative that is out there is not accurate. We have every intention of honoring and remembering Julia as part of this graduating class. We always have a moment of silence as part of our graduation ceremony in remembrance of our students who have passed. We have spoken with Julia’s family. They understand and have given permission for us to honor Julia in this way for our graduation.”
But the households concerned are usually not giving up. It is their hope that the varsity will rethink and place an empty chair to honor Julia McCarthy the best way that they really feel she deserves, Maureen Zamenski stated, “Anna came up with the chair idea. Her thought process was those who knew, knew and that was all that was important to her. Now it’s turned into a circus and nobody wins. It was never supposed to be about winning.”
When requested in regards to the college students’ concern for the remedy of psychological well being and the dialogue of suicide, McCown didn’t reply.