District Communication BHS Student

December 4, 2020

Dear Staff, Students, and Families:

It is with profound sadness that I write this letter to let you know that one of our High School Students, Spencer Smith died unexpectedly on Friday, December 4. My sincere condolences and thoughts go out to the family and friends of Spencer.

During this time as the Brunswick High School and community processes this tragic news, and copes with grief, the school district will offer counseling and bereavement support services to all of our students and staff.

The family has requested that information about the cause of death not be shared at this time. Rumors may begin to circulate, and I ask everyone not to spread them since they may turn out to be untrue and can be deeply hurtful and unfair to Spencer and his family and friends.

I want to take this opportunity to remind our community that suicide, when it does occur, is a very complicated act. No one single thing causes it. But in many cases, a mental health condition is part of it, and these conditions are treatable. It’s really important if you or your child is not feeling well in any way to reach out for help. Suicide should not be an option. I am including some information that may be helpful to you in discussing suicide with your child.

Furthermore, A student's death is a difficult and challenging situation that can generate a high level of anxiety and distress for some students. If you feel that your children are having difficulty, we encourage you to discuss their thoughts and feelings to help them work through their grief or concerns. Please also consider monitoring and discussing your children’s communications (social media, phone, e-mails, text messages) to further assess their potential needs.

Members of our Crisis Response Team are available to meet with students individually and in groups on Monday, as well as over the coming days and weeks. Please contact the school office if you feel your child is in need of additional assistance. Note that children who are already vulnerable may be at greater risk due to exposure to the death of a peer.

If you or your child needs help, the following are resources:

Available 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week

If you are concerned about yourself or about somebody else please call the

Maine Crisis Hotline 1-888-568-1112

If you are not in Maine, please call the

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

- OR -

Chat with a crisis counselor online: Lifeline Crisis Chat

www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/gethelp/lifelinechat.aspx

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your child's principal or guidance counselor.

Sincerely,

Phillip J. Potenziano, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools