Three teenagers from different social circles at a Missouri high school have killed themselves in the past two months, People reports.
Sixteen-year-olds Jordan Halmich and Destiny Pearson and 15-year-old Donna Cooley, students at St. Clair High School in St. Clair, Missouri, have all committed suicide over the past seven weeks.
Halmich killed himself on September 28. Cooley hung herself five weeks later, and Pearson committed suicide on Monday.
School officials held an emergency meeting Tuesday following Pearson’s death to determine how to stop the wave of suicides that have rocked the high school and the small town of 4,400 Missourians.
Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy told KSDK-TV, “I’m hearing anxiety, concern, frustration, all of the above, and rightfully so. Could this have been prevented?”
Murphy also said suicide prevention experts and additional counselors and clergy are available to help trouble students. He said the staff is concerned emotionally vulnerable students may consider copying the three deceased teens.
“At this time the district is working with every available resource in the region to help the school community cope with this crisis,” Murphy said. He said all three victims were going through “very different circumstances in their lives.”
There have been accusations of bullying surrounding all three suicides, and words written on Cooley’s mirror suggested that she had been tormented by fellow students.
Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke said, “She was upset about a number of things at home and school.”
Investigators said there was no evidence that Halmich was bullied.
A Facebook page created for Pearson said she often defended other students who were getting bullied.
“I have also known Destiny to stand up for others against bullies!!” Samantha Smith wrote. “She took up for a lot of her peers. And she stood up for them many of times… She had a great heart and will be missed my many!”