13-year-old Tyler Nichols took his life just before the start of classes Thursday at Davidson Middle School in Southgate. The school system responded quickly to the tragedy.
“We had an eighth grade student, who committed suicide in our building this morning,” said Southgate Community Schools Superintendent Bill Grusecki.
“A student came into the bathroom, found him down on the ground,” said Southgate Director of Public Safety Tom Coombs. “The student notified a staff member.”
Grusecki said staff sprang into action, following protocol to a tee.
“We went into immediate lock down, kept the kids in the classrooms safe while the authorities were dealing with the situation,” he explained.
Nichols was pronounced dead at the hospital. School was canceled, and students waited for their parents to pick them up.
“We thought maybe someone was having a heart attack, but it was very scary to know that someone brought a gun into school and shot themselves,” said student Austin Robinson.
“We were just really shocked. A lot of people were crying,” said student Ben Patton.
Of course, everybody is wondering what drove this eighth grader to do something so drastic and permanent. Some have said he was bullied. The superintendent isn’t so sure.
“From what I understand, he’s a very good student, somewhat popular,” said Grusecki. “Talking with the staff at the building, he had never gone to anybody with any issues or problems or anything like that.”
In the wake of the tragedy, this school is taking a tough look at its security measures.
“We had no idea… that student was coming into the building armed,” Grusecki said.
The superintendent is determined to do all he can to change that.
“We’ll check kids out when they come in with things on Monday until we can make arrangements with regards to metal detectors or whatever else,” Grusecki said.
The school is bringing in grief counselors for as long as they are needed because a tragedy like this is something they will never forget.
“We could see it in their faces. It was difficult for all of us,” said Grusecki.
The gun Nichols used to shoot himself belonged to a family member, but police would not say exactly which family member. They said it was legally registered and not secured, which is how this young man was able obtain the gun and bring it to school.
Police also said Nichols did leave a note.
Students will be back in class on Monday. They are being asked not to bring backpacks or wear any bulky coats or jackets because everyone will be checked.
Thursday’s tragedy leaves many students and parents shaken. Beaumont Psychiatrist Dr. Joel Young says teens will have varied reactions. “It’s important for parents to extend a listening ear, but don’t be surprised if your child doesn’t want to follow through,” says Beaumont Psychiatrist Dr. Joel Young. “He just might want to move on and think such terrible thoughts.”
The number one cause of suicide is untreated depression. If you or someone you love is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Even children can suffer from depression, which can be fatal if left untreated. Learn about the warning signs at www.afsp.org.
Deaths: 1, Injuries: 0