Dozens of parents and other community members gathered in a middle school auditorium in Mount Vernon last night – just days after a ninth grader took his own life. The death is the third student from Mount Vernon High School to commit suicide in the past seven months.

Superintendent Pam Ewell says the district is doing all it can to keep students involved and engaged. “Our community already does that,” Ewell said. “So that’s why this is even more heartbreaking than you could ever imagine because our children are involved and they are engaged.”

Mount Vernon students have been meeting this week with counselors from the Grant Wood Area Education Association. Those same counselors and mental health experts met with parents last night. “Suicide, as awful and heartbreaking as it is, can’t be predicted nor can it be explained,” Ewell said. “That’s what makes it so complicated because, in education, we’re always looking for solutions.”

Counselors from the Grant Wood AEA are planning to remain at Mount Vernon High School through today.

by Chris Earl, KCRG-TV