Hypothetical Horror Story: Effects of a potential tragedy within school community could change atmosphere

Sheila Gregory, Co-Editor

I remember a day in seventh grade when John P. Halligan, the father of a boy who committed suicide, came to Prairie Star Middle School to talk to us about it.
I, along with everyone else, was crying for his incredible loss. It was almost unbearable to hear about his and his son’s suffering.
It wasn’t until I matured and kept seeing the stories on the news about all the young kids dying that I truly thought about how a suicide or even an accident such as a car crash could affect the students and staff at Blue Valley.
Looking at it from the angle of an accident, the aftermath would be both worse and better in some ways.
I’m not saying death in any situation is better at all, but with this situation no one feels guilt. It’s devastating to all who knew the victim or not, but there aren’t feelings of “I could’ve done something to stop this,” or “There must have been some way to help.”
The school as a whole would be somber for about a month after it happened. Then, things would seemingly go back to normal.
Time heals and makes things fade. It would look like almost everyone had forgotten.
Except the victim’s close friends. I’m sure you all have someone in mind. I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘How on earth would life go on normally without him or her? How could she be saying the school would go back to normal?’ It will for them, just not for you. Time helps, but some wounds never close.
Now looking at the equally horrifying aspect of one of our own committing suicide. This would cast a huge shadow over our normally cheery halls.
Think about it — someone in our school pushed past his or her limits until he or she saw no light ever. No one sees it coming. I’m not writing this as a warning for anyone, but it’s something worth thinking about.
In this situation, everyone who has had contact with him or her feels varying amounts of guilt.
Could you have been nicer to your locker neighbor or your lab partner? We’ve all had the lessons on how to spot the signs — why didn’t anyone say anything?
If you want the psychological answer to my hypothetical question, it’s the bystander effect — when you stand back in a crisis situation expecting other people to help.
It’s a sad fact.
Other emotions that would be coursing through us are a mix of horror and curiosity. How could someone be pushed so far over the edge that this was the only solution? Hopefully, (but unlikely), it wasn’t because of people here.
Think about how many peoples’ lives you have affected. And not just that, but think about how simple actions affect everyday people.
Be kind. Love one another because nothing can be taken for granted.