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Memorial Apparel Banned From School Weeks After Student Suicide

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(credit: George Fox/CBS Detroit)

(credit: George Fox/CBS Detroit)

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SOUTHGATE (WWJ) - On the heels of a student suicide, officials at Southgate’s Davidson Middle School are encouraging students to move on.

The school has sent a letter to parents saying Friday is the last day students will be allowed to wear any clothing and bracelets created to memorialize Tyler Nichols.

The 13-year-old shot himself in a school bathroom on March 21.

WWJ Newsradio 950 spoke Thursday with Southgate Community Schools Superintendent, Dr. Bill Grusecki.

“Building administrators, they talked with the counselors and the staff and, for the most party [they agreed] it’s a good idea to move on, and not dredge up a lot of stuff,” said Grusecki.

Grusecki said students who continue to wear hoodies, t-shirts and bracelets with Tyler’s name on them will be encouraged to meet with a counselor.

“We’re not going to be punitive in any way with kids that wear ‘em after Monday. To us, that will be a way that we can determine that we need to get them some extra help, because they’re still grieving,” he said. “If we don’t, and they just keep wearing them … there’s a lot of other people, staff included, that just want to move on.”

Grusecki said Nichols’ parents support the school’s directive, and that he hasn’t heard complaints from any other parents.

The following is a copy of the letter sent to parents:

“The purpose of this announcement is to let you know that Friday, April 12th, 2013 will be the last day that we will allow students to wear any apparel items related to memorialize Tyler. Based on research from the American Association of Suicidology, National Association of School Psychologists, and the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children by allowing students to continue to give exposure to the tragedy, it creates concerns due to continued visual reminder of what happens and it can lead to decrease in cognitive function, ability to attend, focus, retain, and recall, and the ability to process information- primary learning functions.

While it may help some students cope with a loss of a friend, we also must be cognizant of all our students and staff and it is likely to be traumatizing for some students as well as staff.

As a school we recognize the need to assist students and staff with the grieving process, it is also crucial to recognize the need to reduce suicide contagion.

Suicide contagion occurs when suicidal behavior is imitated and can be minimized by avoiding sensationalism or giving unnecessary attention to the suicide.

Based on this research and recommendations from these highly recognized organizations, we need to discourage these behaviors as it may result in the glamorization of the death and glorification of the suicide victim.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the school administration.

Thank you in advance for your understanding in this matter.

Dennis Kemp, Principal

Davidson Middle School

Southgate Community School District”

RELATED:  Talking To Your Teens About The Southgate School Suicide

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