Important Notice from Superintendent of Schools

September 28, 2015

Dear MSAD #51 Families,

I would like to take this opportunity to update you on two timely issues that are of immediate concern to our school community.

First is a follow-up to the unexpected passing last week of an 18-year-old senior who attended Greely High School.  The state Medical Examiner's office has confirmed that the death was a suicide.

I have been struck by the incredible response that students, staff, and the community have made in light of this traumatic event.  I wish to give special thanks to GHS Principal Dan McKeone and Assistant Principal Jayme Jones, the K-12 guidance counselors, and K-12 social workers.  Their leadership and efforts have helped to provide comfort to our grieving high school. Thank you also to the senior class and student council for their organization of a candlelight vigil that provided compassion and support for each other and the entire school community.

Inevitably, when these kinds of incidents occur, there is an attempt to explain or rationalize what happened in order to create meaning.  I would caution that our community remain focused on taking care of our youth, and not be distracted by needless and potentially harmful assumptions or rumors. We must stand strong and proud for our students, staff, and school community.

Suicide is a serious problem among young people.  There is not one answer or explanation for its occurrence.  It is situational and unique to the person involved.  But there are warning signs in many cases that can help prevent suicide from taking place.

Click here for Suicide Prevention Resource

Click here for Warning Signs

My second communication is around viral meningitis.  Several cases of meningitis have surfaced in southern Maine schools over the last two weeks.  There have been no cases in our district at this point.  However, you may want to talk with your child about how this illness can be transmitted and how to reduce exposure to it.

I have included a fact sheet below for your convenience, including symptoms of meningitis and ways to safeguard against this contagious illness.  If you have further questions about this, please contact your child's health care provider or feel free to contact your child's school nurse.

Meningitis Info Sheet