Tragic start to school week at SHS

High school student found deceased on Feb. 6

Feb. 10, 2023 - The school week started on a tragic note at Siuslaw High.

According to a press release from Chief John Pitcher of the Florence Police Department, this past Monday at 9:28 a.m., the department received a report of a possible deceased subject in the brush near the corner of 35th and Oak streets.

Upon arrival, police discovered a male juvenile who was determined to be deceased. The youth had been reported missing earlier that morning. The investigation conducted at the scene determined the probable cause of death and that no foul play is suspected. 

As of press time, Florence Police were working with the Lane County Medical Examiner’s Office and the incident remained under investigation.

Later that same day, Siuslaw High School Principal Mike Harklerode, along with School District Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak, co-signed an email that was sent to all parents in the district informing them of the incident.

“I am writing this letter with great sadness to inform you of the passing of one of our high school students. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to their family and friends. In keeping with the wishes of the family, the school will not be making a public release of the name of the student until authorized to do so,” the email stated.

All of the high school students were given the news of the death by a teacher in class that afternoon. Members of the trauma response team met with students individually and in groups and will be available to the students over the next days and weeks to help them cope with the death of their peer.

The two administrators included a message asking teachers to read the following to students to inform them of what happened:

“This morning we heard the extremely sad news that [student’s name] has passed away. We are all saddened by his death and send our condolences to his family. A care room is be located in the library for students who wish to talk to a counselor,” the message read. “Please be talking to parents or other adults as you process this news. If you are particularly concerned for yourself or somebody else, please let a staff member so we can support everyone.”

Though the student’s name was included in the initial announcement made to students, it was redacted in the email sent out to the general public out of respect to the family.

Siuslaw News will provide more information as it is appropriate.

If you are concerned that you or someone else is at risk for suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 1800-273-8255, or 911 if harm is imminent.