Second Parkland school shooting survivor commits suicide

'This is the aftermath of a massacre,' March for Our Lives organizer says

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

PARKLAND, Fla. - A student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School died of an apparent suicide Saturday, raising fresh concerns after a 19-year-old survivor of the 2018 mass shooting took her own life just days earlier.

The Coral Springs Police Department confirmed Sunday that a student had died, but officers did not identify the student.

“This is heartbreaking. It was hard enough to lose the 17. To know that there are kids out there suffering and don’t know where to turn, it just adds to the heartbreak that this community has already suffered,” said Ryan Petty, whose daughter was killed in the shooting.

Sydney Aiello, who was a student at Stoneman Douglas during the shooting, died last Sunday.

Her mother, Cara, told CNN that Aiello, a student at Florida Atlantic University, suffered from survivor's guilt and had recently been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Aiello was on campus on the day of the shooting but was not in the building where the victims were killed. She was a close friend of Meadow Pollack, one of the 17 people who were killed.

On social media, many survivors and parents of the victims referred to Aiello and the student who died Saturday as the latest victims of the shooting.

"How many more kids have to be taken from us as a result of suicide for the government or school district to do anything? RIP 17+2," said David Hogg, an MSD graduate and political activist.

Stoneman Douglas Principal Ty Thompson and Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky directed people to the Broward County Resiliency Center in Pine Trails Park. The center offers crisis and grief counseling. Students will not return to Marjory Stoneman Douglas on Monday because the district is on spring break.

Parents and county officials -- including Petty and County Commissioner Michael Udine -- held an emergency meeting in Parkland on Sunday to discuss how to prevent more suicides.

"We have come together as a community in a really great way to try to tackle this unfortunate tragedy. What we want everybody to know is that there is help out there," Petty said. "We want parents to be aware of the risks and the signs. And there are very simple things that parents can do to understand whether their child is at risk."

The group recommended parents use the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale, a risk asssessment tool used by mental health professionals. If a child answers yes to the questions, parents are encouraged to call 211.

"This will not trigger them in order to commit suicide but without asking them the questions -- theres no way you can know from looking at someone to know whether or not they’re suicidal," Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky said.

Family members said Sydney Aiello suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in recent months.

Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of the March for Our Lives, a multicity protest against gun violence organized by the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The main Washington, D.C., rally drew more than 200,000 people to the nation's capital.

"This is the aftermath of a massacre. Mental health care treatment in schools is atrociously underfunded and under-resourced, even in Parkland," said Ryan Deitsch, who helped organize the March for Our Lives. "Now is beyond the time to invest in the well-being of our students and our future." 

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. You will be connected to a certified crisis center near you.

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