Contact 17: Teen attempts suicide, possible link to bullying

A Tehachapi teenager was on life support Wednesday following an attempted suicide at his home. People in the community think the boy was the victim of bullies and want to know what his school is doing to protect students.
On the outside, Jacobsen Middle School in Tehachapi seemed normal Wednesday, but on the inside students are coping with something very serious -- the attempted suicide of one of their peers on Sunday.

Monday afternoon the district called parents with a message after rampant rumors spread that the boy died.

"At this time the student is in intensive care and the district is awaiting further information from medical personnel and family. The district is providing ongoing counseling and other resources for students affected by this incident."

Police said the 13-year-old boy hanged himself from a tree in the back yard of his home. His name was not released.

The superintendent of the Tehachapi Unified School District said police are investigating the possibility the attempted suicide was linked to bullying, but the district said it was not aware of any bullying.

"We have questioned and involved the kids that we have heard knew about the incident," said Richard Swanson, the superintendent. 

The district said it has bullying prevention programs, but it needs one where students can discuss suicide.

"We're going to have to design a specific plan for kids that says here are the things you need to look for, if you see that you need to contact a qualified adult," Swanson said.

September is teen suicide prevention month in Kern County. There have been six teenage suicide deaths in Kern since January 2009. If you want to talk about suicide, you can call the prevention hotline at 800-784-2433.
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