School Dismissed Early After Child Dies Suddenly

School Dismissed Early After Child Dies Suddenly

Child’s Sudden Death Leaves Middle School SHAKEN – This Is Heartbreaking

( – The back-to-school season should be exciting for kids as they prepare to see their friends regularly again, learn new things, and explore the world in their classroom. But, for one school in North Carolina, the discovery of the tragic death of one of their classmates in a bathroom cut the day short.

On Tuesday, September 6, administrators sent students who attend Wendell Middle School in Wendell, North Carolina, home after a “medical crisis.” Officials didn’t provide any details on what happened to the child in question. However, the mother of the deceased boy told CBS 17 that her son, Austin Pendergrass, 13, died by suicide after dealing with bullying for years. She pleaded with parents to “check on your kids” and find out if they were victims of bullying. She also asked people to “just teach your kids to be kind.”

Friends and family gathered at a nearby park on Wednesday, September 7, to remember Austin’s life. The family buried the boy on Friday.

These events unfolded during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Schools all around the nation focus on how to prevent such tragic events from occurring. According to the CDC, 45,979 people died by suicide in the United States in 2020, which many agree is far too many. Awareness is the first defense in suicide prevention, and everyone can help. If you or someone you know is in crisis, experiencing suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm, or need to talk, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. It’s free, confidential, and available 24 hours daily in English, Spanish, or via text.

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