CUSD on hand for grieving students, staff

CARLSBAD — With the assistance and cooperation of several agencies, the Carlsbad Unified School District has assembled its crisis team in response to the Oct. 2 death by reported suicide of Jennifer (Jennie) Cortez, an eighth-grade student at Calavera Hills Middle School. The team is in place to help students, staff and families at CHMS and throughout the district cope with this tragedy. Jennie’s body was reportedly discovered in the family’s Oceanside home.
According to CHMS Principal Catina Hancock, Jennie was a great student with a ready smile and many interests and friends. Hancock said, “I am devastated. Jennie was a sweet, beautiful, 13-year-old girl who played in our school orchestra and always had a smile on her face. On Friday, we bumped into each other in the hall and shared a laugh. She displayed no apparent symptoms of depression. We are all so sad and confused.”
The CHMS community has been notified. The district’s crisis team began meeting with CHMS staff before school began on Oct. 3. A parents’ forum was scheduled for after school Oct. 3. The internal crisis team will be assisted by crisis counselors from other agencies, as needed, including Oceanside Unified School District and the San Diego County Office of Education. Crisis counselors will be available at CHMS, and at all district sites, for as long as required, according to CUSD District Superintendent John A. Roach.
Roach asks the public to respect the privacy of CHMS students and staff. “Any death is tragic, but the apparent suicide of a young person is unfathomable, especially to peers. While the Oceanside Police Department investigates the death and our school community works through the many emotions connected with this incident, we vigorously request that anyone who does not have to be at Calavera, or any CUSD site, allow us time to begin the process of healing. I thank you for your understanding.”
Roach said that more information will be shared by him and at carlsbadusd.k12.ca.us as it becomes available. Inquiries can be directed to communications consultant Marilyn Campbell at (760) 439-3716 (office), (760) 458-1196 (cell) or to wrte4fn@cox.net.

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