AP NEWS

Second Parkland student commits suicide

March 25, 2019

Just over a year after the fatal shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, two students took their own lives within a week, officials said.

The first suicide victim, Sydney Aiello, survived the Feb. 14 massacre and had PTSD and survivor’s guilt, her mother said. It’s not clear if the latest apparent suicide was related to the attack.

“The trauma associated with what happened on Feb. 14 last year is not over for this community,” said Ryan Petty, whose daughter died in the shooting that killed 14 students and three staff members. “This is a new normal for the MSD, Parkland and Coral Springs communities,” Petty said. “We just have to recognize that. We can’t go back to Feb. 13 as long as we’d like to.”

In response to the suicides, parents and county officials held an emergency meeting Sunday night on how to prevent additional suicides.

“Know that you are not alone,” said Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, who works with the Children’s Services Council of Broward County. “There are so many people who care and so many people who are here to help.”

One of the main messages stressed was keeping the line of communication open.

“Parents have to have very frank discussions with their children right now, and I think the students need to have frank discussions with each other,” said Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky.

The gunman behind the Feb. 2018 shooting was a former student at Stoneman Douglas. He confessed to the crime and was indicted on 17 murder counts.

In the weeks that followed the massacre, many students started a national movement that called for policy changes.

A report from the Giffords Law Center to prevent gun violence said that movement resulted in dozens of new gun laws for 26 states and Washington, D.C.