The Harbinger Online

East Responds to Recent Suicides

In response to two SMNW students committing suicide this week, SMSD is hiring extra counselors district wide to provide extra support.

“The more the silence is broken and the stigma is reduced around suicide, the more resources [become] available and people realize that we’re human beings, we have struggles” East’s social worker Emily Holman Macnaughton said. “The more that we talk about it, it’s less likely that people feel alone”

On Thursday morning, all district families were notified about the deaths in an email statement addressing the suicides and what to do if you suspect someone is suicidal.

Principal John McKinney is taking the suicides seriously, and wants the help of the students to keep East a safe environment.

“We can’t control all the things going on outside the building” McKinney said. “but we can control what’s going on inside this building. It’s really on the students to maintain and help support the expectation that we treat each other with kindness.”

According to, warning signs of suicide/suicidal thoughts can include drug and alcohol use, making jokes or talking about killing themselves, change in sleep patterns, feeling like a burden and cutting ties with close friends or family.

“It’s always your place to make sure someone is safe” Holman Macnaughton said.

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Lucy Hoffman

Lucy Hoffman is a junior at Shawnee Mission East and is the Mobile Media editor. In her free time she enjoys running and does track and cross country. She also participates in Coalition and Share. She can often be found crafting, sewing or baking, as these are her favorite non-school activities. Read Full »

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