Nipmuc Regional High School (Mendon-Upton) is refusing to allow students to commemorate the life of a student who committed suicide because it might “romanticize” others to do the same
Izabella DeLorey was an outgoing, compassionate teenager, and a gifted artist, who wanted to study forensic science in college. In 2018, during her freshman year at Nipmuc Regional High School, the 15-year-old took her own life.
“It’s going on three years, but it doesn’t get all of a sudden OK,” said DeLorey’s mother, Alizabeth Bouvier. “Six out of seven nights a week, I still cry myself to sleep. It does not get any easier at all, it doesn’t.”
As graduation season draws near, friends and family of DeLorey — affectionately nicknamed both “Izzy” and “Bella” — struggle with how to remember the young woman during a life milestone she didn’t live to see.
Friends of DeLorey asked school administration last month to allow for an empty seat at the district’s June 5 graduation ceremony. After receiving an initial veto, Miller circulated an online petition looking to show community support for the gesture that picked up more than 1,200 signatures in just a few days.
“Everybody deserves remembrance,” Bouvier said. “It would mean the world to me, because she would be graduating. That’s her class.”
“We cannot stress enough that we recognize that the request of our students is intended to honor their classmate,” the statement reads. “However, based on the professional guidance we have received, as school leaders, we cannot approve a request that could potentially cause harm to another member of our community.”
“Among suicide prevention (professionals), it’s considered best practice to avoid anything that could potentially romanticize suicide death,” said Larry Berkowitz, director and co-founder of Needham-based Riverside Trauma Center. “Try to find ways to engage students in activities …. rather than something that stands out.”
Riverside Trauma Center is the organization Nipmuc Regional High School administration cites in their statement about honoring DeLorey. In a message to the Daily News, a representative from the state’s Department of Public Health said the center is contracted through its department, and that the principals’ statement is accurate.
The empty chair won’t happen, but the two principals are talking with students about possible alternatives. Installations that cannot be avoided, including the empty seat, as well as a tree, plaque or decorated locker, are out.
“Additionally, professional guidance tells us that these types of memorials — although well intentioned — may inadvertently lead to “suicide contagion” or “clusters,” the statement reads.
Find me a profession that is more out of touch with reality, and more dedicated to not taking chances, than a public school administrator. These people got where they are because they couldn’t teach, so they all got their masters in administration and the next thing you know they’re running the joint.
Imagine the pain of losing a child to suicide at the age of 15. Whatever issues or problems this girl thought she had when she was 15 is something she’d laugh at by the time she was 20. It’s hard being a teenager in the moment because you think stuff that doesn’t matter actually does matter. You outgrow it, unless you reach a place mentally where you’re able to do what this poor girl did. It’s heart breaking that someone so young and vibrant could feel so awful that she thought this was her only way out.
Her mother will never get over it, but the one thing the school could’ve done to help ease her pain was allow the empty seat at graduation. I’m sure she would like to attend, as her daughter’s friends will all graduate. I’m sure it will hurt for her, but sometimes it therapeutic to cry.
Administration decided that they were too gutless to make the decision themselves, so they outsourced it to an organization that isn’t involved in the school community and the Department of Health – the same people who shut down school for a year. These people HATE kids, and they want them to suffer as much as possible, which is why they so cavalierly just canceled the most memorable moments in the lives of children and didn’t bother thinking about the mental affects it had on children. No organization has contributed more to teen suicide in the last year than your local Board of Health.
For some reason Nipmuc has co-principals.
Because lots of well run organizations have co-leaders. Where would America be without our co-presidents? Look at what the Patriots have done with their co-coaches.
The fact that they have two principals is emblematic of the district’s inability to make tough decisions for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. They couldn’t pick one of these two millennials to lead the school, so the superintendent just said, “F*** it, you’re both in charge.”
Mary Anne Moran and John Clements are your run of the mill spineless high school administrators. She was voted “Massachusetts Assistant Principal of the Year” in 2016 (yes that’s a thing), but luckily didn’t have to share that title with anyone. She also says that she wants to “reimagine education.”
Apparently that means crap on the memories of a deceased student to protect…..nobody. Even though they said it would:
However, based on the professional guidance we have received, as school leaders, we cannot approve a request that could potentially cause harm to another member of our community.”
Literally no students in the school would be offended or harmed by having an empty chair there, and none of them would suddenly decide suicide was cool. Instead it would do the exact opposite.
What reimagining education really apparently means is avoiding tough decisions and handing it off to a non-profit and the Board of Health instead. They could’ve overruled their “guidance” and made an executive decision, but in reality they wanted this. They were just happy they got to pin it on someone else.
Question – does every high school in America encourage high school students to drink and drive when they let MADD come to the school before the prom and do this?
Is this “romanticizing” death by DUI? Or would they have preferred honoring Izabella DeLorey if she was hit by a bus? I guess her life only mattered if she died the right way.
I’ll tell you a dead person who Nipmuc High School didn’t mind romanticizing though – George Floyd. Here’s a message the co-principals sent out in June.
“Brutal murder of George Floyd.”
His death has not been ruled a murder, and at this point seems likely to end in an acquittal for Derek Chauvin. George Floyd went to jail for robbing a pregnant woman and died after taking 3 times the lethal amount of fentanyl, while riding around Minneapolis with his drug dealer. Nipmuc High School honors him and recognizes what happened as a tragedy, but not one of their deceased 15 year old students. Maybe if Izabella Delorey died from a fentanyl overdose they’d care about her. And by their logic, “romanticizing” the life and death of George Floyd could lead to students developing drug habits and resisting arrest.
Izzabella’s mother Libby posted about it on a local Mendon-Upton Moms Facebook page.
That poor woman.
Luckily the community has rallied around her and pretty much everyone agrees that the co-principals are chodes. Everyone except for Lucy Lambert.
“The chair idea tends to draw negative attention to suicide.”
What the hell did you want Lucy? Positive attention? It’s a sad reminder of the mental health crisis in this country. A reminder of the pain you leave behind for others when you take your life. She doesn’t sympathize with the hurt at all, because she’s never put herself in Libby’s shoes. Easy to post something so heartless when your daughter’s still alive.
So what’s next for the Nipmuc co-principals? Pretend a student who died from cancer never existed because it romanticizes chemotherapy? Maybe Parkland High School can pretend all those kids didn’t die because it might romanticize school shootings. Whatever, just ask the Board of Health to decide who’s life is and isn’t worth remembering. They’re basically in charge now anyway.
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