Dear Editor,

We care deeply about our Raven family. Because we care and because we want to keep our community informed and safe, we want to make you aware of a concerning topic: suicide. As you may know, earlier this year we lost one our beloved seniors to suicide. More recently, our neighboring school sadly lost two students to suicide. Many students, staff members, parents, and community members are grieving the loss of loved ones and are left with unanswered questions. Our hope is that by starting this dialogue we can bring awareness to this issue, as it is facing our students and families.

Recently, we have noticed an increasing interest and discussion around the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” The show graphically depicts suicide and other mature topics, including sexual assault, through the lens of a girl navigating high school. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and other national suicide prevention programs have issued statements cautioning parents and educators about allowing teens to view this series without adult supervision or discussion. We encourage you to check with your child to see if they are watching the series. We also encourage you to visit the NASP website that provides talking points to guide conversations with your child, as well as suicide prevention resources and hotline numbers:

Empire is committed to supporting our students academically, mentally, and emotionally. Our counselors and school psychologist are professionally trained to offer support to our students and families.The Vail School District’s Safe Schools Hotline (520-879-1111) is a service where anyone can leave a message if they are concerned about a classmate and would like to report information anonymously. If you need more information or resources, please contact our counselors or an administrator:

Kristen Dittiger, counselor for students with last names A-J,, 879-3006

Amanda Cook, counselor for students with last names K-Z,, 870-3013

Leslie Anway, school psychologist,, 879-3028

Matt Donaldson, principal,, 879-3004

Lainie Kitzmiller, assistant principal,, 879-3046

Please let us know how we can help support you or your child. If you or someone you know needs support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433, or our local police.


Lainie Kitzmiller, Assistant Principal  , Empire High School


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