Superintendent Dr. John Roach described , an eighth-grader at , as “a good student who got A's and B's, played cello, had many friends and always had a smile on her face.”
Roach added that she didn’t fit the list of warning signs for a student who may be contemplating suicide. “My first thoughts were, was she a victim of bullying? We went back through her records and she had no record of ever being in trouble. She never sought counseling. She was just a regular great kid at school.”
Suicides are rare in the school district. Roach said the last one was seven years ago at Calavera Hills Middle School when a sixth-grade boy took his life. When the school district learned of Cortez’s death on Sunday, a crisis team went into action.
On Monday morning, the team met with staff and students at the school. Additional substitute teachers were brought in to allow teachers time off if needed.
Out of 555 students at CHMS, about 50 sought counseling at school on Monday. An after-school parent forum was also offered for concerned parents. Roach said it would be less of a discussion about suicide prevention and more of an opportunity for parents to console one another and allow them the opportunity to openly discuss, “What if this happened to me?”