NewsRegionAnne Arundel County


Severna Park community supports students with signs of love

Parents line streets up to the HS Monday morning
Posted at 8:37 PM, Mar 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-11 10:57:40-04

SEVERNA PARK, Md — "You are loved." "You are enough." "You are not alone."

Monday morning, organizers estimate a few hundred Severna Park HS parents and community members lined the street leading up to the school, holding signs of encouragement for the students. Senior Allison Troy's mom Kelly will be one of them.

"I think people really need to know that they are loved and that everybody is here for them supporting them," Allison Troy said.

Kelly says they want to wrap their arms around a student body in mourning. At the beginning of the month, a junior at the school took his life. Troy says students are upset about how the school handled it.

"Monday morning was really hard for everyone at our school and when we got there, they didn’t have a moment of silence or really even acknowledge the fact that something terrible has just happened in our school," Allison Troy said. "I just think that is so disrespectful and I just can’t understand why this would not get any attention. Somebody's life is gone and that so important and something that should be talked about."

The school sent out an e-mail to parents letting them know what happened.

“As we support the grieving family of any student who passes away as well as support our students and staff, we rely on guidance from, among other sources, the National Association of School Psychologists, the American School Counselor Association, and the Anne Arundel County Mobile Crisis Team. In each instance, as do all families in the school community, we support our students by wrapping ourselves around them with love, care, encouragement, and most of all, appropriate resources for them to utilize in their time of need. We deployed resources at Severna Park High School immediately following the death of Ed Proulx, partnered with Mobile Crisis, and had additional counselors available at the school when classes resumed on Monday. Those resources were available to students and staff throughout the week and continue to remain available for as long as necessary. The school, community, families, faith-based organizations, local organizations, and mental health agencies and support systems all play a collective role in providing help and support to our children," Bob Mosier, Chief Communications Officer for Anne Arundel County Public Schools, said.

Allison says she wishes the school had done a lot more.

"Pretty much all the students are upset about how the administration is handling it and everyone thinks they should be doing a lot more," Allison Troy said. "I know a lot of people say they should have a mental health assembly where they talk about mental health and talk about the signs of when there is an issue."

And so Monday morning, parents lined up along Benfield Rd. at 6:45 a.m. with signs to help encourage and support the students.

"Anything that will help our students see that suicide is not the answer and that they have the support of the entire community behind them. Let's show them how important they are in our lives," reads the 'One Severna Park' Facebook event.

Allison says sadly this is not the first time they have had to cope with such tragedy. When she was a freshman, junior Ellie Leikin committed suicide.

"When Ellie died, the next day they had a moment of silence for her, they said her name and they talked her life a little bit on the announcements," Allison Troy said. "They at least acknowledged the fact that it happened."

According to the Ellie Leikin Memorial Fund, she was determined to learn to drive her 1978 orange VW bus, the Mystery Machine. After her death, Ellie's parents started a nonprofit in her honor called Ellie's Bus, to spread awareness of mental health issues & suicide prevention to teenagers across Maryland and across the country. They partner with schools, youth organizations, religious institutions and other groups to help teach young adults about positive mental health awareness. According to the Facebook event, Ellie's Bus joined the sign waving Monday morning.