“We’re asking our community to pay attention to themselves and each other and show extra care and kindness to themselves and one another,” said Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) Public Information Officer Jennifer Dericco. “Make sure that if they’re struggling themselves or see someone else struggling that they guide them to the counseling available or they let another adult know to check in on them.”
On Wednesday night, 12th grader Emiliano Li-Cortes took his own life. Li-Cortes was a member of the Chargerettes drill team, wrestling and the CHAMPS culinary arts program. The boy’s father gave permission to the District to release his son’s name.
The Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) says the tragic death has no connection to the investigation into a bullying incident involving a Wilcox High School cheerleader that occurred on Oct. 18. Capt. Wahid Kazem with the SCPD says Li-Cortes was never interviewed regarding that incident.
The district also refuted those rumors.
“We are hearing that some in the community have speculated that Emiliano is a student involved in recent incidents reported on by the media over the last several weeks,” said the SCUSD statement. “He is not that student nor is he connected in any way. Additionally, we can never know all the complex reasons for someone’s suicide. We ask that you help limit and dispel rumors, which may cause increased anxiety for our students, families, and the community.”
SCUSD has provided district grief counselors to students at Wilcox High School and has brought in outside counselors from Santa Clara’s Bill Wilson Center and Kara, a grief support center based in Palo Alto.
See Something Say Something
School administrators and district officials want students to know that they are not alone and help is available.
“Suicide is never an answer, we are here to help,” said Dericco. “In an emergency situation, they should let an adult know right away if someone is concerned about themselves or someone else. There is a 24-hour suicide hotline printed on the back of every student ID card. That’s an additional resource that’s 24 hours a day.”
Experts say look for changes in behavior or new behaviors in someone you love, especially if that person has been through a painful event, experienced loss or drastic change. Many people exhibit warning signs.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, if someone talks about killing themselves, feeling hopeless, having no reason to live, being a burden to others, feeling trapped or in unbearable pain, that could be a warning sign.
Look for increased use of drugs or alcohol. If you notice someone searching online for ways to end their life, withdrawing from activities, isolating from family and friends, sleeping too much or too little, visiting or calling people to say goodbye, giving away prized possessions, aggression or fatigue, say something to an adult.
The Foundation says people who are at risk also appear depressed, have anxiety, lose interest, are irritable, experience humiliation or shame, agitation or anger, and relief or sudden improvement.
If you are ever worried, or even unsure, you should talk to an adult or expert.
If you or someone you know is in a desperate state, there are people to talk to. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is (800) 273-8255. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Santa Clara County also has a suicide and crisis hotline open day or night. That number is (855) 278-4204. You can also visit the county’s website, www.sccbhsd.org/suicideprevention.
I’m an alumni of WHS ‘85’ & a member of the LGBTQ Community. If I can be of any assistance in the healing, information process or simply just listen to those in need. Please contact me anytime.
Wilcox high school (and maybe many schools too), it’s teachers , well connected parents and Principals like the then principal Of Wilcox Susan Harris totally ignore pleas to help bullied students just because the perpetrator are popular boys or girl in school Usually athletes or performers who play the system to their advantage.
My son was a student there last year and I decided to transfer him too a different school cause he was being bullied by students. When we notified the school what was going on it just got worse . My son was very depressed .
We miss you so much!
Let’s not hide our head in the sand. Common sense says this is not a coincidence. Whatever the relationship between these 2 kids belonging to the same cheerleading group was, the second one was affected by what happened. Bullying is hurtful, even deadly. The coaches in charge have to reinstate a respectful attitude in their team. And the parents talk to their teens.
As Emiliano’s Mother we only hope that this incident helps teachers, parents and students to be more kind and supportive. I live in Mexico, he used to live with his father, it is painful to don’t understand what was going on because the distance, and because many times, our now kids don’t want to make us feel worry and more is you are far a way. He went to USA to follow his dream, I supported him thinking was the best for him. You know the rest. Love, talk and be kind to everyone, we are all human beings. Thanks to the school that send beautiful pictures to our home in Mexico. Ana Cortes.