Rash of teen suicides in Princeton, Illinois

Full story: WQAD 183
An Illinois town is trying to understand what is causing a rash of teen suicides before another young life is lost. Full Story
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Galesburg

Naperville, IL

#1 Apr 12, 2010
Key word in the article"depression." People don't commit suicide out of the blue. be there for your kids and talk to them. If they show symptoms get them professional help.
Princeton Mom

La Salle, IL

#2 Apr 12, 2010
My daughter is a junior at Princeton High School. Many teens go through roller coasters of emotions, highs and lows. It is important to have a sense of belonging. Princeton High School has adopted policies over the past few years that exclude many students who are not perfect. The drug testing and violation policies are aggressive and kids who would benefit from being part of a team or participating in extracurricular activities may be ineligible as my daughter has been for merely testing positive to nicotine. There need to be rules, but also hope.
Princeton

Sterling, IL

#3 Apr 12, 2010
Everyone in this town is locked up princeton is like the police headquarters of Illinois. you can't even walk thru town on a nice night without some prick cop stopping you and trying to find a way to get you in trouble. Also the school system is ruining our kids lives. Princeton high school is not a very friendly school and all these old people in this town which is like 90% of the population are so stereotypical it's sickening
Another Princeton Mom

Princeton, IL

#4 Apr 12, 2010
Responding to Princeton Mom, it is hard for our children to have "a sense of belonging", when whether or not you belong depends on who you know or what your last name is. It is,and has been for years, widely known who the "drinkers and drug users" are and yet, the children of principals, teachers, guidance counselors, and coaches names are never "randomly drawn". My daughter's name has been drawn twice in 2 years and she has tested negative both times. And it doesn't matter how good you are, you sit the bench unless the coasch thinks you are "somebody". Its all in who you know!
Princeton parent

Spring Valley, IL

#5 Apr 12, 2010
The school system really needs to step up. We have concerned parents who have gone out of their way to provide information or would like to help out and we are turned away. If the kids can't talk at school or feel as if they are being rushed out because they need to get back to class then something is wrong. We as parents also need to step up but if the student has problems at home they need somewhere or someone else to turn to.
Princeton Graduate

Rockford, IL

#6 Apr 12, 2010
Princeton Mom wrote:
My daughter is a junior at Princeton High School. Many teens go through roller coasters of emotions, highs and lows. It is important to have a sense of belonging. Princeton High School has adopted policies over the past few years that exclude many students who are not perfect. The drug testing and violation policies are aggressive and kids who would benefit from being part of a team or participating in extracurricular activities may be ineligible as my daughter has been for merely testing positive to nicotine. There need to be rules, but also hope.

~ I ask you to re-read your comment above, because its the silliest thing I have ever read. "Merely testing positive to nicotine"...Our kids need to realize that there are consequences to every action. Your daughter broke a law, and a rule that has been in place for decades. Until parents get their heads out of the sand, kids are going to continue doing drugs,(nicotine is a drug), turning to alcohol, and will know that mommy and daddy won't do anything about it. It is a downward spiral that is simply ignored by most, and only reconized when a student has lost all hope, and ends his/her life. Lets get back to the core of things, Princeton, "Structure". Are parents really in touch with their kids? Do you really know exactly what they are doing at all times? It is my hope that this "epedemic" is a HUGE wake up call for all Parents. Lets start teaching our kids selfless-ness and the appreciation of life, instead of self-entitlement, and status. It all starts at the home.
mom of a freshman

Princeton, IL

#7 Apr 12, 2010
To start the thought of this happening scares the hell out of me being a mom of 2. But I agree with "princeton mom" this school is all about "your name"! For example there are teachers whos kids have got in trouble and it was "swept under the rug" and their kid still got to play in sports, or a kid who just got their license and is NOT to have more than 1 passenger gets in a wreck, but it is o.k. And we have kids who are actually WORKING at what they are doing and they are the ones who get picked on by the system, now you tell me where the problem is! I agree in treating ALL kids the same and EVERYONE gets the same punishment no matter who you are or what your parents are in this town. And they wonder why kids get down on themselves!
My Son Committed Suicide

United States

#8 Apr 12, 2010
Unless you have been personally effected by a loved one who has committed suicide you can not comprehend the pain ... My son from Princeton died 3 and a half years ago and my heart goes out to the families and friends of the other 7 who have lost their lives by suicide , accident , chocking game , or health ... Only God knows why ? Without Spiritual help this is not a temporary thing .. Please Pray ..for an end and join us on June 5th for The Living Works Suicide Walk in Princeton Illinois www.livingworkssuicidewalk.com
Princeton Mom

La Salle, IL

#9 Apr 12, 2010
Drop out rates are sad as well. The current administration came on board during this same time frame. Take a look at the Princeton High School website and you won't even find a link for a suicide hot line. Right now you will see that the Baseball Parents are building restrooms and who the Teens of the Month are.
I am sure if this is addressed at a school board meeting it will be behind closed doors. The school administration runs the school board at Princeton High School.
Princeton resident

Princeton, IL

#10 Apr 12, 2010
Please get the facts straight. Three Princeton high school students did not commit suicide this year. Three in the last three years.
Another Princeton Mom

United States

#11 Apr 12, 2010
To the mom that has a dughter that isn't playing sports. You should be happy she isn't playing a sport. The coaches are disgraceful, belittling and demeaning to the kids. How bout that zero toleranc policy. It just depends who you are including the staff. It is okay if the staff steps outside for a smoke, or if a staff member comes to a dance drunk. It seems the staff at PHS is breaking the rules on a daily basis, so where is their punishment. I must be old school, I thought teachers were to set examples and be role models.

You can't build your kids up and then have them crushed everyday at school. I've done it and it is exhausting. The teachers, guidance whoever, put them down, they come home and you try to build them back up only for it to happen again.

As much as the school wants to control my kid they need to realize this should be partnership and that the child belongs to me, not PHS>
Princeton Mom

La Salle, IL

#12 Apr 12, 2010
I agree that nicotine is a drug. Please do not misunderstand, I believe there need to be consequences to actions, but they need to be reasonable. Please review the current violation policy in place at Princeton High School. I had read in the paper that Mendota High School would be possibly following Princeton HS's lead and implementing the same policy. Realize this is a policy of exclusion not inclusion, and those students who really need to belong to something may not be eligible.
Another Princeton Mom

United States

#13 Apr 12, 2010
mom of a freshman wrote:
To start the thought of this happening scares the hell out of me being a mom of 2. But I agree with "princeton mom" this school is all about "your name"! For example there are teachers whos kids have got in trouble and it was "swept under the rug" and their kid still got to play in sports, or a kid who just got their license and is NOT to have more than 1 passenger gets in a wreck, but it is o.k. And we have kids who are actually WORKING at what they are doing and they are the ones who get picked on by the system, now you tell me where the problem is! I agree in treating ALL kids the same and EVERYONE gets the same punishment no matter who you are or what your parents are in this town. And they wonder why kids get down on themselves!
The school is all about what kind of house you live in, what kind car you drive, if you are a star athlete, and so. If your just a regular kid your nobody. How bout a kid that table tops a kid, breaks his collar bone and gets a one school supension. Kids steal tests and get a 3 day supension. In my mind breaking a collar bones is right up there with stealing a test. Guess there are different rules for the principals son. This school has gone down the toilet.
Princeton Father

Princeton, IL

#14 Apr 12, 2010
I agree with everything said before. There seems to be a reoccuring theme with most of the comments before...the fact of who you are in this city is everything. I experienced this first hand myself 20 plus years ago when I attended PHS. It truely sickens me to see that is has not changed at all. And from my observation the kids with the worst attitudes are the ones who are in the "somebody" group. There is no responsibility for their actions and no respect for the city they live in. In my estimation the burdon for this falls first in the home and secondly within the school. If it hasnt changed I thought the school is where you go to learn...not a social club. The school board needs to take a closer look at what they have leading there schools and if they can't handle the job there needs to be some changes and soon. I would honestly love to see people in this community that have a genuine love for education leading our educational system and not just persons who use the job as a title. There has to be some serious changes in this community and soon before this happens again....WAKE UP PRINCETON!!!
Princeton HS Student

Philadelphia, PA

#15 Apr 12, 2010
Princeton HS is NOT what people are making this to be. This school IMO is one of the best in the area. I have always been proud that I go to Princeton. I honestly believe most students at this school believe the same thing. Parents blaming this on the school system is appauling. However, I do believe some of the administation staff need to be reviewed (Im guessing many in this community know who Im talking about). Its time we do something about this, instead of pointing fingers to blame someone, lets take this negative situation and turn it into a positive and enlighting situation. I believe our school should do more to promote the Suicide prevention programs, as well as host these programs more often, maybe an adjustment to the administrative staff and counciling staff is a need, but lets not say what a bad community this is, because its NOT!
Another Princeton Mom

Princeton, IL

#16 Apr 12, 2010
I think this is all very sad. We come on here and post comments without leaving our names because you know if you use your name, your child will be retaliated against. My child is involved in sports, and is told on a daily basis by her coach that she is "not good enough". I would NEVER tell my child that she is not good enough. She goes to EVERY practice, and the ones who can't even roll out of bed for the early morning practices start every game?? We pay these peoples salaries to mistreat our children? It is also sad that so many kids had to commit suicide for people to finally stand up and say that something is wrong with this system!
Princeton HS Graduate

Princeton, IL

#17 Apr 12, 2010
In response to the Princeton Resident who said there were three suicides in the past three years, your facts are also wrong! Including the most recent suicide there have been four suicides in the past year, this most recent suicide and three last year! I also want to say that what I've heard about what has happened recently with Princeton High School's administration appalls me! I feel disgraced being a graduate from a school that won't give the youth of our community hope and support that they are desperately calling out for! I can't be proud of my own high school, it just sickens me! Something needs to change and it needs to change SOON!
Princeton mom

Huntsville, AL

#18 Apr 12, 2010
Thanks to the "previous PHS student" for standing up for their community. It's easy to point fingers and blame. I don't believe PHS is to blame for all the suicides and the emotional problems of our teens; however, I do believe they are being an obstacle when not allowing religious leaders in the community to help with the counseling during times of tragedy. They have been very frustrating in that area.
As some have said, it starts in the home...parents are the ones who need to WAKE UP - whose ultimate responsibility is it? I don't put my trust in our education leaders to raise my children - not even in the best of systems would I EVER allow that.
My heart and prayers go out to the families that lost loved ones...I hope we can stop pointing fingers, placing blame, saying cruel things about people and their families (shame on those who do), and start praying and working on solutions.
Princeton74

Princeton, IL

#19 Apr 12, 2010
Hmm, there are so many different things being said about Princeton, the high school and the kids that have passed away.
I am not gonna put down the high school, except I will say this... YES! they do need to be more involved in what's going on. You can't be involved too much, there is no such thing, but we aren't really seeing it at all. It's sad.
So many people I have talked to are afraid to say the wrong things to their children, afraid to yell, all they want is to make them happy, be there for them every minute and never leave their site. We are all so worried. It shouldn't be like this. We, as a community, as friends and family, do CARE, we care a ton about what's going and need to come together and be there for each other. Most of us have. Someone said "I believe our school should do more to promote the Suicide prevention programs, as well as host these programs more often, maybe an adjustment to the administrative staff and counciling staff is a need" and I agree!!! I cannot speak about any teachers at the HS cause I don't personally known any, as for the police, MOST are WONDERFUL, although there was one that when "someone I know" passed away said "oh the kids will get over it" when he has kids of his own. These are young kids dealing with this and it will take them time! Have a heart!
Princeton HS Graduate

Richardson, TX

#20 Apr 12, 2010
I am also a recent graduate of PHS and this small town mindset is awful. There are many positives to a small town, yes, but many more negatives when the town is so divided,spiritually, socially, and politically stiff, that I did not see until I took a step back to see the big picture. Especially when administration doesn't have the sence to step in and make a school, where kids spend most of their days, a welcoming and nurturing environment, you can bet kids are going to think that there is no way out... and feel the need to take drastic measures.

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