Downingtown school community seeks solutions after recent suicides

DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. (WPVI) -- Classmates and parents are coming together to demand change after four current or former students from Downingtown East High School died of suicide in less than a year.

The most recent suicide was just this week.

In reaction to these tragedies, a petition was recently started with a former student and parent Bill Bullotta.

The goal is to bring change within the school district and rally the community as a whole to combat the issue.

"It's a crisis. So the wonderful things that they're doing, we're just going to have to do more of them faster," said Bullotta.


At the district school board meeting on Wednesday night, Bullotta said dozens of families came to support the cause.

"Because our kids are in school care quite a bit of time, we were just trying to figure out how we can all come together," he said.

On Thursday, district superintendent Dr. Emilie Lonardi said they're listening.

"We've set up two meetings: one is to hear from an expert group of panelists in the area of suicide prevention and mental health. We're going to ask a lot of questions. It'll be an open community meeting," she said.

The second meeting will be to come up with a concrete plan of action.

"We'll move forward with a task for to really try and improve, tweak, add, delete and really make a difference for our students," said Lonardi.

She also adds she's starting to see a community response that will surely lead to progress.

"So far, just in the last couple of days, I've gotten many e-mails with parent ideas and from professionals who work in mental health saying 'what can I do?'" said Lonardi.

There is an open community meeting to address the issue of suicide in the community on Thursday, January 17 at 7 p.m.

All are welcome to attended.


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