PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – For the third time in a year, students from Plano Senior High are planning a memorial for a classmate who committed suicide.
“I can’t understand it. I really don’t. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to understand it,” said Ash Rabah, who lost his son in November.
Just four days after celebrating Gabriel’s 18th birthday, his father came home to find his bedroom door locked. “I unlocked the door, started reading the note. I was just looking around the room for him, and there he was in the closet,” he said.
Rabah has poured over his son’s emails and texts, looking for warning signs but has yet to find any.
CBS11 confirmed two other student suicides, one in October and another this past Thursday.
“Unfortunately, adolescent suicide is not that rare,” said psychologist, Dr. Sylvia Gearing.
She said teens don’t have the same coping skills as adults.
“They don’t have that ability to re-establish perspective when things don’t go well. Failure can seem permanent to them.” said Gearing.
Near a memorial bearing Gabriel’s name, people have laid fresh flowers for the latest victim. But Rabah worries there may be more.
“That’s what I’m afraid of, to be honest with you. It’s almost like they think it’s the norm.”
Rabah finds it difficult himself to carry on…
“My son used to wake me up every morning, give me a kiss on the forehead and tell me he loved me. That’s how my every day started. My days will never start the same again.”
Plano ISD Suicide Prevention Efforts
Staff: All staff members are trained twice each year to recognize the signs of suicide and about required safety procedures that are followed when they identify a student at risk.
Parents: A mental health and suicide presentation hosted by the Grant Halliburton Foundation was offered at four different campuses this school year, including Plano Senior High. All sessions were open and promoted to parents across the district.
Students: Counselors present guidance lessons each year to all students regarding personal safety and suicide prevention. Additional presentations were made to all students at a number of secondary campuses, including Plano Senior High. These were also presented by the Grant Halliburton Foundation. Many campuses have a hotline number that students can call or text to report that they or a friend may need help may be at risk.
“The district has some other programs in the works, including a mental health curriculum delivered by Southwestern Medical Center and a screening program through the North Texas Suicide and Crisis Center. We are also planning an emphasis on awareness during September, which is Suicide Prevention Month.” – Lesley Range-Stanton, Plano ISD spokesperson