The following was read to students in each Upper School homeroom this morning:
As most of you now know, one of our tenth-grade students, Payton Sullivan, took her own life on Friday. The entire Waynflete community joins with Payton’s family and friends in grief.
A death by suicide presents many questions that we may not be able to answer right away. It is usually caused by a disorder such as depression, for which Payton was being treated by professionals.
Depression can prevent a person from thinking clearly about their problems and how to solve them. Sometimes these disorders are not identified or noticed; in other cases, a person with a disorder will show obvious symptoms or signs. Certainly not all students who have depression feel suicidal. It is important for you to know that resources are available at Waynflete for any students who struggle with these feelings. There are treatments that can help. One thing is for certain: suicide should never, ever be an option.
Each of us will react to Payton’s death in our own way, and we need to be respectful of each other. Some of you may not have known Payton very well and may not be as affected. Others may experience a great deal of sadness. Some of you may find you’re having difficulty concentrating on your schoolwork, while others may find that diving into your work is a good distraction. It’s important to know that there is no “right way” to process your feelings.
As we process grief in our own way, it is important that as a school we continue to follow our normal schedule and routine. Classes, practices, and rehearsals will continue as usual. If you feel the need for support at any time during the school day—including during classes—you can go to Lydia’s homeroom, which is across the hall from Holly. In addition, your advisors will be in their spaces at lunchtime today if you would like to connect with them.
If you are worried about yourself or one of your friends, you should talk with Cathie, Lydia, your advisor, or any adult in the community.
We will keep you updated on the Sullivan family’s wishes for a way to remember Payton’s life. In the meantime, let’s join together in sending the Sullivans our thoughts and prayers in their time of grief.