September 28, 2012

Teen Tragedy: An Oklahoma Teenager Makes Bold Statement At School

Stillwater, Oklahoma -- A 13 year old student at Stillwater Junior High School brought a handgun to school, and used it to take his own life, before school started on Wednesday.

When students heard the gunshot reverberate through the school, many feared that a gunman was loose in the school. They had no idea that 8th grader Cade Poulos had turned a gun on himself. Stillwater is about 70 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

According to the Washington Post:
Some students bolted outside Stillwater Junior High. Staffers quickly locked down the building and evacuated the rest of the school’s 700 eighth- and ninth-graders, along with students from an adjacent elementary school, police Capt. Randy Dickerson said.

Dickerson said the 13-year-old didn’t leave a note, and authorities said they don’t know why he killed himself. Superintendent Ann Caine, who oversees the district about 70 miles west of Tulsa, said there weren’t any reports that the teen had been bullied.

“There is no indication that that’s what occurred,” Caine said. She said the teen was a good student who got along with other kids.

I think it’s very interesting that school administrators almost universally respond to press inquiries that there is no record of bullying. I’m not trying to suggest that bullying played a role in this tragedy. A more plausible explanation would be that teenagers often keep what’s bothering them to themselves. If a teen is depressed or being bullied, they might never mention it to anyone, which is very sad.  

In the article "Grief greets Stillwater students returning to class after peer's suicide" Tulsaworld.com reports:
Thursday, students and faculty at Stillwater Junior High School tried to wrap their arms around the death - and themselves.

"There was a lot of hugging, even big guys hugging," Stillwater Public Schools Superintendent Ann Caine said.

Caine stood with a fellow administrator at the school's entrance Thursday morning.

"Very few students usually get dropped off by car," she said. "They ride the buses. But this morning, a lot of them came by car, and they were allowing their parents to say goodbye."

Poulos, an eighth-grader, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound just before 8 a.m., Stillwater police said. Caine said about six students witnessed the shooting.

The superintendent was surprised that she saw “big guys hugging.” How do you like that - I guess she’s only seen little guys hug before. I’m not sure how to interpret her comment, except to say that she sounds like an ignorant school administrator.

Friends and family may never know why Cade Poulos ended his young life - but choosing to do so while he was on school property indicates that he wanted to make a bold statement regarding Stillwater Junior High School. Unfortunately, the adults in Cade’s life, both at home and at school, might never know what that message is.

RIP Cade Poulos.



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