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Families concerned about bullying after youth suicides in Greenfield

Posted at 5:57 PM, Nov 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-26 18:57:05-05

GREENFIELD — After a meeting about preventing suicide, a Greenfield family says they have concerns about the effects of bullying playing a role.

"We didn't take a lot out of what they had to say," Laurie Jahn, a mother of a Greenfield High School student said. "They're not addressing why these kids committed suicide."

In the last two months, two students have died by suicide. The father of one of the children says bullying played a big role in his son's death.

"Bullying a long time ago, it was different," Carlos Hernandez said. "Now, the kids take the bullying home, 24/7."

Hernandez says his son Anthony talked about kids bullying him and he's since found messages on his son's phone. His cell phone is part of the new era of bullying. Something that's had an impact on Laurie Jahn's daughter Maddie.

"I've had thoughts but I've never done it," Maddie said. "It scares me that I have thoughts. If you're getting to a point where you can't take it anymore, you want to take your own life."

Maddie says she has missed the last week of school because of bullying. The anxiety and stress of it has been too much for her. However, she's trying her best to be an advocate so this doesn't affect anyone else. She wants to meet with the principal about starting a group.

"I feel like I'm not alone but it sucks because there are so many other kids who have to deal with it," Maddie said.

"I think we always want easy answers and easy solutions," Chief Jon Cohn with the Greenfield Fire Department said. "But they are complex."

Cohn is working with the Greenfield School District to help parents who are concerned about suicide. He hopes families understand, they are all working together to help.

"I personally sat in offices and meetings with administrators, trying to come up with next steps," Cohn said. "We've shared emotions and cried. They're working hard to solve these problems but they're complex and multi-faceted."

For Laurie Jahn, her concerns will continue for her daughter's future.

"It definitely crosses my mind," Jahn said. "I don't want anything to happen to my daughter."

The Greenfield School District was not available for comment Tuesday but is making time for an interview Wednesday.