Westerville City School District officials will have counseling services available Friday, Nov. 2, after a 17-year-old Westerville Central High School student attempted suicide in the school’s common area on the morning of Nov. 1.

A letter sent from Principal Tom Lanier said the student “attempt(ed) to take his own life by using a belt to hang himself from the second floor railing near a stairwell in the commons area" at 10:50 a.m.” and “many” students and faculty members witnessed the attempt.

Lanier’s letter said the student survived the attempt and was taken to a nearby hospital. A message from Greg Viebranz, the district’s executive director of communication and technology, said the student’s “feet never left the second floor platform and those intervening were able to bring him back over the railing to safety.”

According to Lanier’s note, Westerville Central opened its auditorium as a space for students in need of “a quiet place for reflection,” and had the district’s care team on hand to speak with students who needed to talk.

“The school and members of the district’s care team did an amazing job meeting the needs of students following the incident,” Viebranz said. “The auditorium became a supervised, dedicated space for students who needed a quiet place, and our care team was available to anyone who needed additional support.”

Lanier said that while most students carried on with a typical schedule, they were encouraged to talk with adults on hand. Some students took advantage of the services offered, while others left school early.

Viebranz said those same services will be available Friday, and the district is encouraging students to use those services if needed.

“Every school in our district has access to various community resources aimed to fit the needs of our students and families,” he said. “If students or parents know of anyone who may be having difficulty coping with the pressures of life, we encourage them to speak up, reach out to our schools and try to get them the help they need. Our school counselors and social workers are available and can help support those who find themselves in a time of need.”

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