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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

School District Staff Responds to Campus Tragedy This Week

• Samohi Freshman Jumps to Death

BY JULIE WALLACH


A first-year student at Santa Monica High School, Matthew Mezza, 14, jumped to his death last Friday at the Sheraton Delphina Hotel across the street from school campus.
According to an email sent to all school district parents last Friday, Superintendent Tim Cuneo wrote, “It is with great pain that we inform you of a very tragic event that just happened to one of our Samohi students. 
“At approximately 5 p.m. today, a student left campus and jumped onto the sidewalk from an upper floor of the Sheraton Delphina Hotel across the street from the school.”
Samohi’s website offered a list of symptoms that could indicate a child is having emotional difficulties that include becoming more withdrawn, increased absences, change in sleeping patterns, poor hygiene, increased memory difficulties, trouble breathing and fatigue.
Other signs mentioned on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s website include “observable signs of serious depression, acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, including alcohol and drug abuse, experiencing dramatic mood changes, suicidal ideation and making statements about hopelessness, helplessness or worthlessness.”
A more covert warning sign is when an individual who exhibited symptoms of depression or suicidal ideation suddenly seems happier and calmer. According to the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education website, “Many people suffering from depression and even contemplating suicide hide their feelings and appear to be happy just prior to their suicide attempt.”
Cuneo and grief counselors were at Santa Monica High School Tuesday morning to provide support to Mezza’s classmates, and a PTSA meeting took place on Wednesday to help grief stricken students.

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