Increase in youth suicides among Cleveland Public Schools (CPS) prompt the United Pastors in Mission (UPM) to shift their original focus on receiving an update of the schools’ progress in a recent meeting with CPS CEO Eric Gordon. The pastors concluded that while the schools have made much progress under the leadership of Gordon, there was still much work needed to be done regarding the safety and vulnerability of increase youth suicidal rates in schools.
Pastor Paul Hobson of Mt. Zion Congregational Church said, “We are concerned about not only the physical safety and care for our children, but their emotional and mental challenges children face.” CEO Gordon assured the more than 75 pastors in attendance of the schools’ care for those kinds of situation and added, ”Though we have many programs to prevent suicidal tendencies, we will do more.” He shared with the group the many steps Cleveland Schools have taken since his appointment to the position of CEO of Schools and the mandatory training for counselors, principles, teachers and parents to prevent suicide by students. Mr. Gordon affirmed that it takes more than the school to do all the work, others must help like churches, pastors, pediatricians, coaches and those who interact with young people.
United Pastors in Mission was alarmed to hear that one out of five Cleveland students in grades 8 thru 12 are now at risk and signs of suicidal students too often go undetected and unrecognized. The pastors gave a commitment to work to create closer alliances with the school districts across Greater Cleveland.
Dr. Macon, UPM President said, “A program must be created to not only help students who have suicidal thoughts, but it must include strategies that helps students to recognize classmates who are of concern.”