Do you think this school made the right decision or should they let these students mourn in whatever way helps them to cope?
SOUTHGATE, Mich. (WJBK) -
After 13-year-old Tyler Nichols took his life inside his school, classmates made clothing and jewelry to honor his memory. Now administrators at Southgate's Davidson Middle School say those items are no longer allowed.
"She just was bawling and bawling, and I'm like I will be there as soon as I can," said Gena Pizo.
She will never forget the day her daughter called saying her friend and classmate since kindergarten committed suicide inside a school bathroom.
There have been plenty of tearful days for the kids, but Pizo said students have made clothing and bracelets saying things such as "rest in peace Tyler" or "fly high Ty" with the suicide awareness symbol, and that seems to help.
"It was very traumatic for them, especially when it happens in school," Pizo said. "They wear it because they feel that's how they're going to recognize their friend, remember him."
Since the suicide to deal with their pain, some students have been wearing their sweatshirts, bracelets and T-shirts in memory of Tyler, but parents received an email Wednesday night that said as of Friday, April 12, students will no longer be able to wear that clothing and then tried to explain the reasons why.
"They don't want to glorify suicide, and I don't think the kids are trying to glorify it. I think they just want to remember their friend. It's only been two and a half weeks," Pizo said.
According to the email, the decision was based on research from the Association of Suicidology and National Association of School Psychologists that says continued visual reminders can lead to decreases in cognitive function and the inability to focus and retain and process information, among other things, and memorial clothing may be glamorizing the death.
"We're going by what is being recommended to us, and we've looked at things, too, and there's not a right answer in all this stuff," said Southgate Schools Superintendent Bill Grusecki. "So we're looking at getting back to as normal as possible in the most timely fashion we can, and we feel we're making the right decision. We've even touched base with Tyler's parents, and they believe this is the right thing for us to do, too."
He explained if students continue to wear the clothing, they won't be punished, but they will have to speak with counselors to help them work through their grief.
Pizo speaking on behalf of a lot of concerned parents said the school should anticipate just that because their kids don't plan to stop wearing the clothes that are helping them cope with their loss.
"I just want the kids to be able to grieve for their friend," she said.