The Mancos school community is grieving after the death of one of its students.
Brian Hanson, superintendent of Mancos School District Re-6, announced June 6 in a letter to families that student Callum Erin Hays, 17, had died by suicide at his home.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hays family as they face this terrible loss,” Hanson wrote. “As Bluejays, we pride ourselves as being one large family, and we are all here to support each other during this time of mourning.”
In response to the tragedy, the district held a staff meeting and student assembly Monday, with breakout support sessions staffed by local mental health providers, a school counselor and staff, local clergy and law enforcement. About 75 middle and high school students turned out, and all hugged Hays’ parents, who were also in attendance, Hanson said.
“I was so proud of our kids,” he told The Journal.
He emphasized that school staff are available for support, and he urged students to reach out for help if they are struggling, or if they know of anyone who is struggling.
“We can wrap resources around them,” Hanson said.
When school resumes in fall, Hanson said the Mancos administrative team will discuss its suicide prevention curriculum and consider its implementation.
He’s also working to secure a grant to pay for more mental health professionals to be on staff, which he believes will be crucial.
“Given what our world is dealing with right now, the COVID virus, the not being in school, the unemployment that is triggered because of all this, the unrest, the political unrest, the protests that are going on – I think kids are going to need a lot more supports when we come back than we currently have,” Hanson said.
A service was held at noon Saturday at Ertel Memorial Chapel. To send condolences or to view the full obituary, log on to www.ertelfuneralhome.com and click on the obituary section.