Second Ida Baker student commits suicide


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Second Ida Baker student commits suicide

By Matt Grant. CREATED Sep 28, 2012 - UPDATED: Sep 28, 2012

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Students at Ida Baker High School are trying to come to grips after a 14-year-old classmate took her own life.

This is the second suicide to hit Ida Baker in less than two weeks. The latest incident has one suicide prevention group calling for more education.

Fox 4 is not going to release the name of either student. But after these two tragedies there are questions being asked - like what are the warning signs that could hopefully save a life?

"My heart's just breaking," said Virginia Cervasio, who founded the suicide prevention group CARES.

"Every body's in a lot of pain right now," said Cervasio. "Especially the kids, the students."

 Almost seven years ago, her son Angelo took his life without any warning.

"It almost feels like your heart's been ripped out of you," said Cervasio. "And it's a struggle every day."

Cervasio turned her struggle into something positive starting CARES, which is dedicated to suicide prevention.

"What can be done to prevent these tragedies from happening?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"Education," said Cervasio. "You have to make sure that the kids understand that they can find a safe person to go to."

With two suicides in less than two weeks at Ida Baker, Cervasio says she doesn't think this recent one was a so-called copy cat but it's impossible to know for sure.

"Even though it's a very short span you can't say if it was related or not," said Cervasio. "No one can really say that."

What she does know is that the decision to commit suicide isn't usually made overnight.

Warning signs include: 

  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Talking about suicide
  • Saying things like "no one would miss me if I was gone."
  • A sudden drop in grades
  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Sudden disinterest in things

Fox 4 wanted to know if the district plans to make grief counselors available or implement any suicide prevention programs.

The district declined to comment out of respect for the family.

"The District is not providing information or comment," said district spokesman Joe Donzelli, "out of respect for the family based on their request."

"What, if anything, should the school district be doing right now?," asked Grant.

"Right now they need to support those students. They're really, really hurting," said Cervasio. "Anytime we lose a child, anytime we lose anyone to suicide it's definitely a crisis."

There have been 98 suicides in Lee County this year, which is up five percent from last year, according to Cervasio.

If you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide there is a free 24-hotline you can call to get help. The number is (800) 273-TALK.

Matt Grant