School thwarts grieving mom over graduation request - Hi-Desert Star: News

School thwarts grieving mom over graduation request

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Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 7:19 pm

YUCCA VALLEY — David Ericson graduated from Yucca Valley High School in January, a semester early.

He was set to lead the senior class in next month’s graduation procession in his U.S. Marine Corps dress blues after returning from boot camp.

Ericson never made it; he committed suicide Feb. 23.

Reyna Madrid, Ericson’s mother, wants to be presented with her late son’s diploma during the June graduation ceremonies. School officials have denied her request.

There is a precedent. In 2006, the parents of Darla Denise Davenport and Jonas Nyberg both went to the stage to receive their children’s diplomas at the Yucca Valley High School graduation.

Davenport was killed in a traffic collision and Nyberg had succumbed to cancer during the school year.

But Madrid said a school secretary, told her suicide is not promoted by the school and an official will only mention her son’s name during the ceremony; she can pick up his diploma the next day in the school office.

“Just the way she spoke to me was insane,” a tearful Madrid related of the phone call with the school. “I was like, ‘Am I really hearing this?’”

Madrid took her case to the district office but received no help there, either. She said Assistant Superintendent Tom Baumgarten told her he would call the high school and ask Principal Carl Phillips to call her. That call never came.

When Madrid called the school again, the same secretary told her she would not be allowed to go on stage to pick up the diploma. The decision had been made by the senior class.

“I got upset,” Madrid related.

She didn’t understand how the school could judge her son for how he died. “Don’t you know he was sick?” she said. “Depression is a sickness.”

According to Madrid, the secretary said she was sorry but there was nothing she could do; she was just repeating what she had been told.

Madrid was advised by an attorney to “make noise,” so she called the Hi-Desert Star Monday.

Baumgarten declined to speak on the record regarding the matter, citing privacy concerns for the family. The administrator confirmed that the decision not to allow Madrid to accept Ericson’s diploma was made by members of the senior class.

The Star’s email message Monday to student body adviser Scott Phillips and a telephone message Wednesday to the principal asking for information went unanswered.

The only positive aspect of her son’s death, Madrid said, was the donation of his organs.

“His heart is beating somewhere, his lungs are breathing.” Ericson’s liver, pancreas and corneas were also harvested for transplant. Madrid has letters that six recipients are doing fine after receiving her son’s organs.

© 2016 Hi-Desert Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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69 comments:

  • nowammys posted at 3:53 pm on Wed, Jun 19, 2013.

    nowammys Posts: 7

    So now that the event has taken place, I have heard that Miss Madrid did not attend. First and foremost, I wonder if this is true or not? If she did not attend, I wonder why? I wonder how those who opposed the school's decision feel now? This all seems like mob mentality that consumed the drama, was unreasonable, and has moved on in search for more witches to burn at the stake.

     
  • Meowity posted at 6:25 pm on Wed, May 29, 2013.

    Meowity Posts: 11

    I could post links all day long too if I felt like it.
    There is nothing more clear than what my school did. I sure hope people don't expect others not to be sad when they hear about a death, especially being young, because that's exactly what it seems like. Everyone grieves, and puts their own self in a victims position, whether in a good way or bad way and no matter how they passed. What a great way to end our senior year huh? Was it not bad enough already? It's common sense that we cannot fully control our emotions. There was no excuse to say that my class voted on this, and than have it somehow confirmed since not even David's closest friends were informed.
    You people really must not know a single thing depression and grieving. If you did, you would know that your complaining if going to affect the rest of our lives in a horrible way as it has already changed my view of our society. I hope you don't think I'll forget the incident that ruined any enjoyment of my senior year in which, I did work so hard for. My first real accomplishment. What wonderful people you are. You don't think two feet ahead of yourself. The amount of damage this has caused to so many people. How can you be so inconsiderate to the people you live with? That's incredibly wrong, and overwhelmingly disgusting.

     
  • Grunt posted at 5:23 pm on Tue, May 21, 2013.

    Grunt Posts: 76

    Good decision Mr. Phillips. http://www.kesq.com/news/health/New-study-supports-teen-suicide-contagion/-/232884/20242920/-/ih92qz/-/index.html

     
  • wonbyjc posted at 5:12 pm on Sun, May 19, 2013.

    wonbyjc Posts: 5

    I just have a question. Why is "how this student died" even a factor? If this student would have been intoxicated and gotten into a wreck and passed that way, it would probably not be a factor and his mom would be walking. However, what would that be teaching the fellow students? Thats illegal drinking and driving is ok? All's I am saying is give this mother the motherly duty of being able to have peace with her son's death. No matter how it happened, it is I am sure closure to her. And if he is getting a diploma, then that is an honor that he earned....no matter how he passed away. Who is anyone to judge his passing? This is about the living mother, not the deceased son. And her getting to put closure on a very very heartbreaking event that happened to her son.

     
  • desert lily posted at 7:35 am on Sat, May 18, 2013.

    desert lily Posts: 233

    Oh, and you and the Dalai Lama have different opinions on the subject of honoring the dead who committed suicide.

     
  • desert lily posted at 7:24 am on Sat, May 18, 2013.

    desert lily Posts: 233

    nowammys.

    This is not glorifying suicide so your argument does not apply.

    No ethical or honorable therapist would give you any advice on this particular situation, so you are only generalizing and that is a shame when we are talking about a dead person. If all you need is idle opinion to convict you of "the truth" then I have a bridge I want to sell you.

    The problem here is that no one from the school reached out to solve this problem and that is what is drawing the attention. If there was still a right to an education [read: adequate funding] for all of those children who have a right to life, this would never have happened. The problem is that after they are born kids are on their own and out of rights to mental health counseling and a fully funded educational system.

    God help them if they should be born gay, as most teen suicides are. I can't imagine a worse life than the religious bigotry of Yucca trained on a sweet and tender soul. If witch burning was still legal, the Christians in this Basin would have already figured out a burn order for those who don't believe as they do. And like nowammys they are ready to spit on the corpses they step over.

     
  • zoeysmom posted at 8:19 pm on Fri, May 17, 2013.

    zoeysmom Posts: 37

    @nowhammys using curse words or insinuating them does not show a real sign of respect or intelligence. That being said I have experienced it, and I know what the family is experiencing , and the reacttions of others first hand, and my my grief counselor would beg to differ, any subject you research you will find plenty of opposing research. I also dont appreciate the insult. Take care now and my sympathies and thoughts to the family.

     
  • berrysjsrd posted at 11:52 am on Fri, May 17, 2013.

    berrysjsrd Posts: 262

    Bad school and moral and compassionate policy enforcement met the wrath of the people and lost. This very public "scandal" never, never should have happened if the principal was acting ethically when treating a grieving parents request to make a last tribute to her son. As a teacher and principal how can he keep his job? He should be dismissed.

     
  • april posted at 11:28 am on Fri, May 17, 2013.

    april Posts: 4

    she will walk she didn't want to have to go pubic she didn't even want the manor of his death to be mentioned just hear his name called and walk up and get the diploma like any other proud mother and go sit back down . you need to understand that she did her best to down play this she could of picked at the high school but choose not get the kids involved didn't want to glamorize it she care about the kids there at yvhs so she went where to the district office so kids wouldn't be involved. Unlike yvhs they took it to the kids so don't judge a proud mom

     
  • Provocateur posted at 10:57 am on Fri, May 17, 2013.

    Provocateur Posts: 24

    Another interesting read about a very similar sample population and the influence/effect that media reporting can have on them...

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/01/31/the_contagion_effect

     
  • nowammys posted at 7:05 am on Fri, May 17, 2013.

    nowammys Posts: 7

    A sobbing mother flashing her son's picture to a crowd is morbidly pathological and demeaning the celebration for the entire class. Some kid will see how much attention the kid who killed himself is getting and think, "wow, I want to make an impact like that, get everyone crying for me, paying attention, etc."

    The fact is students need to be taught that in the end, people will cry for you, but in a few days or months out, they will get on with their lives and forget you. That's how we survive/ stay emotionally stable.

    I'm done stoking this fire. If you want to grind the axe, go for it.

     
  • Dave Peach posted at 5:00 am on Fri, May 17, 2013.

    Dave Peach Posts: 2998

    I read it, plus substantially other data and news stories. Neither the reporter nor the publication sensationalized the primary victim's means of dealing with his despair. The school did so.

    Whether his name was mentioned or whether his mother was allowed to accept the diploma would have made no difference.

    Detailing the initial episode would not have occurred during the ceremony and wasn't done so here, nor following the initial episode.

    Discussions about suicide, including identifying 'leading' causes and potential victims, plus the value of consoling the secondary victims, merit expansion as opposed to promoting ignorance about the problem and assuring missed opportunities to prevent the occurrence, and especially as opposed to increasing the probability among the secondary victims by irresponsibly increasing the grief.

    Suicide was irresponsibly focused upon only by school officials, which warrants correction.

     
  • nowammys posted at 7:17 pm on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    nowammys Posts: 7

    @zoeymom idk if you read provocatuers link, it doesn't seem like it. Please do, everyone here should. Look up contagion suicide or copycat suicide. REsearch that. I'm done trying to help those who won't listen. Not ridiculous and bluntly, you don't know ____.

     
  • lisalisa posted at 5:19 pm on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    lisalisa Posts: 15

    That was the report this morning on localcbs2 my husband and I both heard that she will be walking in place of her son. Just repeating what was reported on channel 2 this morning. On Wednesday it was reported that she would be given the diploma afterwards. So something changed apparently.

     
  • District37Racer posted at 1:58 pm on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    District37Racer Posts: 291

    Thank you nowammys for your posts, and ill say i have to agree with your take.

    Sensationalizing events and emotional teenagers usually dont mix. Seems nowadays the whole world thrives on drama and even has to manufacture it to survive.

     
  • zoeysmom posted at 1:55 pm on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    zoeysmom Posts: 37

    People do not simply commit suicide because someone else commits suicide that is a ridiculous notion, now can a family member or friend overwhelmed with grief and depression take thier own life, I am sure that is possible, but they would experience that grief regardless, I find it highly unlikely that his mother walking in his graduation would have any contributing factor to that. That makes no sense, do you really think a student would think " Oh wow my mom will get to walk in my place if I kill myself, that would be neat" No, noone would say or do that and if they did there was alot more going on then the influence of a mother walking in place of thier deceased child. Really? I have a tough time believing that "educated" experts belueve that. Mental illness is a disease, and it has many triggers, if a person killed themself because his mother walked in graduation, then any other trigger could have also cause the suicide. I have experienced this and I have done my research, and gone to many counseling sessions, and any educated counselor will tell you that people that kill themselfs do not just suddenly decide to do so for something as small as this, there is alot more involved. The suicide fever or pacts that usually happen are due to a group of friends that usually find friendship and understanding in one another because they have similar challenges and issues, noone can convince a stable individual not at risk to take thier own life.

     
  • zoeysmom posted at 1:53 pm on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    zoeysmom Posts: 37

    People do not simply commit suicide because someone else commits suicide that is a ridiculous notion, now can a family member or friend overwhelmed with grief and depression take thier own life, I am sure that is possible, but they would experience that grief regardless, I find it highly unlikely that his mother walking in his graduation would have any contributing factor to that. That makes no sense, do you really think a student would think " Oh wow my mom will get to walk in my place if I kill myself, that would be neat" No, noone would say or do that and if they did there was alot more going on then the influence of a mother walking in place of thier deceased child. Really? I have a tough time believing that "educated" experts belueve that. Mental illness is a disease, and it has many triggers, if a person killed themself because his mother walked in graduation, then any other trigger could have also cause the suicide. I have experienced this and I have done my research, and gone to many counseling sessions, and any educated counselor will tell you that people that kill themselfs do not just suddenly decide to do so for something as small as this, there is alot more involved. The suicide fever or pacts that usually happen are due to a group of friends that usually find friendship and understanding in one another because they have similar challenges and issues, noone can convince a stable individual not at risk to take thier own life.

     
  • RD posted at 1:42 pm on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    RD Posts: 443

    "It is very important that schools strive to treat all deaths in the same way. Having one approach for memorializing a student who died of cancer or in a car accident and a different approach for a student who died of suicide reinforces stigma and may be deeply and unfairly painful to the student's family and friends.

    GRADUATION: If there is a tradition of including a tribute to deceased students who would have graduated with the class, students who died of suicide should likewise be included.

    Some schools may resist any kind of memorialization at all, clamping down on any student desire to publicly acknowledge the death for fear of glamorizing suicide and risking suicide contagion. But simply prohibiting any and all memorialization is problematic in it's own right -- it is deeply stigmatizing to the student's family and friends, and can generate intense negative reactions, which can exacerbate an already difficult situation and undermine the schools efforts to protect the student body's emotional regulation."

    -- AFTER SUICIDE: A TOOLKIT FOR SCHOOLS --
    -American Foundation for Suicide Prevention -- AND -- Suicide Prevention Resouce Center
    http://www.sprc.org/sites/sprc.org/files/library/AfteraSuicideToolkitforSchools.pdf

     
  • Provocateur posted at 1:36 pm on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    Provocateur Posts: 24

    @RD- Read it again. The posted link has everything to do with this story. It is a set of guidelines to media outlets addressing articles about "suicide". The problem with the article is the attack on the school (where there are students that fall under the "at risk for copycat" behavior) and the graduation events that are to be held there in early June. The HDS has a responsibility to the community to take the seriousness of the issue into account before publishing a "sensationalized" headline and posting a picture of a grieving mother and her son on the FRONT PAGE of the website as a headline story. Both of those issues are addressed in the document that was provided.

     
  • RD posted at 12:59 pm on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    RD Posts: 443

    @Provocateur ... the link you gave is to a reference for reporting on specific details of a suicide and has nothing to do with the story Mr. Biggerstaff did on the issue of graduation ceremonies.

     
  • Provocateur posted at 10:27 am on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    Provocateur Posts: 24

    To Mr. Biggerstaff and Editor of the Hi-Desert Star:

    I suggest that in the future you use better judgement before publishing sensational headlines about tragedies such as these.

    National Institutes of Metal Health urges media organizations to avoid "Big or sensationalistic headlines, or prominent placement" of stories about suicide". The Hi-Desert Star featured this article as a headline and directed the focus of the story at a local school. You people are part of the problem!

    For Mr. Peach and the staff at the Star:

    http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/resource_media.pdf

     
  • nowammys posted at 10:02 am on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    nowammys Posts: 7

    Lisa Lisa:can we get citation of this? I do not believe that's correct, she will not be walking, but will be given her son's diploma at the ceremony and his name will be in the program. A low key, but quality response. Cheers to this man. It seems there's no winning up here.

    Provocateur: Finally someone with some sense, certified information, and untied to emotional chaos. Call me cynical, but I don't know if that will matter. It seems many have no trust in education and clinical research there seems to be hubris in "knowing" what to do because they sympathize (I do) or empathize with the mother. However, I strongly doubt ANY experience in public policy which is really at the core of this issue. If you want to get an idea of it, read Provocateur's post.

     
  • nowammys posted at 10:02 am on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    nowammys Posts: 7

    Lisa Lisa:can we get citation of this? I do not believe that's correct, she will not be walking, but will be given her son's diploma at the ceremony and his name will be in the program. A low key, but quality response. Cheers to this man. It seems there's no winning up here.

    Provocateur: Finally someone with some sense, certified information, and untied to emotional chaos. Call me cynical, but I don't know if that will matter. It seems many have no trust in education and clinical research there seems to be hubris in "knowing" what to do because they sympathize (I do) or empathize with the mother. However, I strongly doubt ANY experience in public policy which is really at the core of this issue. If you want to get an idea of it, read Provocateur's post.

     
  • lisalisa posted at 9:13 am on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    lisalisa Posts: 15

    Great news!!! Ms. Madrid will be walking in her son's place at the YVHS graduation cermony. Hats off to Mr. Phillips for making a tough and great decision.

     
  • Provocateur posted at 9:08 am on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    Provocateur Posts: 24

    To those that need the "credible evidence", let's look at the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) take on the issue:

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00031539.htm

    Glorifying suicide or persons who commit suicide.

    News coverage is less likely to contribute to suicide contagion when reports of community expressions of grief (e.g., public eulogies, flying flags at half-mast, and erecting permanent public memorials) are minimized. Such actions may contribute to suicide contagion by suggesting to susceptible persons that society is honoring the suicidal behavior of the deceased person, rather than mourning the person's death.

     
  • Dave Peach posted at 5:58 am on Thu, May 16, 2013.

    Dave Peach Posts: 2998

    The despicable and destructive notion that suicide and victims of suicide, including the survivors, should be shunned rather than discussed and consoled eludes any credible evidence.

    As should be obvious, the attempt clearly didn't work out as supposed.

    Rather, the gesture recklessly compounded public exposure and cruelly expanded the grief, instead resulting in outrage and, hopefully, more appropriate alterations.

    Allowing inadequately informed, illogical, uncivil and destructive policies or personalities continued influence and control over students would be more irresponsible.

     
  • zoeysmom posted at 1:20 pm on Wed, May 15, 2013.

    zoeysmom Posts: 37

    I am very relieved that they are allowing this young mans mother celebrate his accomplishment, I am a wife of a victim of suicide, and I just want to say that I am truly and utterly disgusted by the people blaming his mother for his death. Until you have been through such a horrible event you will never know the pain agony and misplaced blame that these families experience. That type of talk is uneeded and not a resolution or solution.

     
  • nowammys posted at 11:33 am on Wed, May 15, 2013.

    nowammys Posts: 7

    Meowity,
    As you have stated, you are a student/teen. This disqualifies you as having any trained/researched authority on how to handle these situations. Unfortunately this is victimization when those who to handle this best are seen as the perpetrators. I'm going to respond the rest of the way as follows:
    A. The school/Phillips made the right decision, following code that was coordinated long ago with psychologists and specialist on the issue. Not upset kids.
    B. "Why would the reporter need to ask a grief counselor/psychologist?" They could clear the village drama fiends and would explain why having her walk is morbidly pathological, hyped grief that will only fuel others.
    C. It is an example of our community, many of you are following their leads. The senior vote miscommunication aside, this comment board, the petition board and more proves there are a range of ages. I will not "correct" myself on that.
    D. I have conferred with a licensed social worker with a master's from a quit prestigious university that has gone through this and she warns of contagion suicides. Same thing happened at the school she's at. You heard it here first folks, beware of the fall out. They will be on your hands, the policies and others are warning you. On a side note, I hope you are not dealing with these things on, "your own/parents" only, seek professional help.
    E. You don't know me, but I assure you my message would be supported by specialists. I have intervened on two suicidal situations in the last year. I hope that paints a different picture, but I can't control other's perception, but that is the reality. I have been the one person these 2 trusted to talk to and they specifically told me they wanted to end it all. BOTTOM LINE: This will INCREASE the chances of it happening agin. I hope everyone listens, but I fear they will continue to pick the scab.

     
  • Meowity posted at 7:10 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    Meowity Posts: 11

    YVHS STUDENT, If Davids best, closest friend wants his Mother there, I'm sure he would too. I think you need to respect the ones closest to him, it seems like you really don't care for him at all but acting so rudely. Tomorrow is another picket at the high school just after school is over, so please feel free to come counter it.

     
  • Meowity posted at 6:59 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    Meowity Posts: 11

    nowammys, this is a family the most kids in this town grew up with. Siding with the school (not the kids, because we did not vote) is going to make matters worse. Not only do we not get to graduate with our loved friend, but nothing to resemble him either. Thankfully the decision that Reyna will be walking with us has been made already. But that does not make up for the horrible lie, and the grief this has caused all of us. Allowing Davids mother to walk with us makes us happy, and that is all that should matter. We didn't work 12 hard years for this.

    You ask, "Why didn't the reporter ask how what a grief counselor, psychologist, or social worker would say about her walking?" . Well I have an answer, which is, why would he need to? The school didn't need to give proof the us seniors voted. And they do not have proof either, because it's a lie. And to add, there have been a few social workers involved in the petition. Maybe you will find it in yourself to ask them why they so strongly support us seniors in our decision making.

    You say " This community thrives off drama and does not know how to be content with the mundane. Celebrating this issue will detract from the celebration of others and send the wrong message to kids dealing with similar issues. "
    Well, seniors are not the community and please correct yourself on that.
    Do you think we really wanted this just a few weeks before graduation?
    No, the school is who made this an issue. And now we are left to correct it.
    I am a kid dealing with these similar issues. Do not say this is sending me the wrong message. You are not me. Being able to graduate with Davids mother will make my graduation what it is suppose to be.

    You want to know what is sending the wrong message? Drama is part of it, along with the fact that the school made a horrible lie about us, to cover their self. What are we suppose to look up to? And who? We have to look to ourselves for that and our parents. Proving that so many people lack compassion is what makes me sad. Sad can not even describe the feeling I get from this. You REASSURE me that the future of not only America, but the Earth is doomed. Thanks for making matters so much worse for me. Thanks for making this memory one that I wish I would forget. You don't think before opening your mouth, about who it is really hurting.

    And as Albert Einstein said, "The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything"

    Just sit tight, and watch the world that you owe your life to burn.

    And what will happen? You say, "Watch out if this gets more hyped than it already is" , what will you do? I don't believe there is a voice louder than us seniors in this specific situation. We will do whatever it takes. It is our right. We are in America, am I wrong? We fight for our freedoms, and since that is what it takes, so be it.

     
  • roguewarrior posted at 6:38 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    roguewarrior Posts: 160

    Wow! A senior calling out a grieving mother. Classic! By the way YVHS STUDENT, everyday is the first day of the rest of one's life. Get a grip and get a clue!!!!

     
  • YVHS STUDENT posted at 6:21 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    YVHS STUDENT Posts: 1

    I am completely heart broken and sickened that his so called "Mother" wants to even attend let alone be apart of David's graduation. She was no mother to him. He had great friends and a wonderful little brother. A "Mother"? no she cannot call herself that. I DO NOT WANT THIS LADY AT OUR GRADUATION. She is just a reminder that our friend will only be their in our hearts and nothing more. Could they [school officials] have handled this better? Yes. With a different outcome? No. PLEASE DONT LET THIS RUIN THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF OUR LIVES. - YVHS student and a friend to David.

     
  • Meowity posted at 6:20 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    Meowity Posts: 11

    Provocateur, in what way is my school not thwarting a grieving mom?
    Let me get straight to the point. Not all children are able to grasp that set of coping skills at a young age especially when their days consist of really hard work. When depression arises, you can take that "set of coping skills" and throw it out the window. It's a mental illness, just like anxiety. I happen to know about these things really well being only 17 years old, and I would think that you would have a better sense of heart, and knowledge.

    You say, "The faculty/staff at YVHS are among the most dedicated people in this community" Well sure that is your opinion, but did you attend school there or did you work there? The day I decided to home school myself is when one of my teachers said " I'm not the one failing here" , and than spend the rest of class period preaching about us kids not growing up. This continued all year. So than they wonder why we fail. Like the LCMS as well, I'll never forget the day in algebra my teacher told the entire class to not ask questions the entire lesson.
    Once again, at YVHS, the chemical showers that they have in our lab classrooms for emergency are full of boxes and pictures. That's code violation and I'm sure that would be a big ticket. I also remember when i had to use the restroom and my teacher wouldn't let me until I finished my work and well, it was an emergency so I told her and she still denied my request so i told her I was goig to the bathroom and left. She locked me out of the room and blamed that she didn't know where I went. Than I was written a behavior report which was later forgotten about because using the bathroom is a right , not a privilege, and when you deny someone the restroom, it is illegal. When I would go to pickup/return my schoolbooks they would always suggest my step dad stay in the office, and not help me carry my books. Well, there are plenty of reasons for that, and I have listed a few.
    I could go on, but I have some decency.
    And I am not saying every teacher there is bad because there are some good, but the way my teacher watched me be bullied and only told the girls to "stop" crossed the line. It took me to say, "Ms. - you need to tell these girls to stop before something happens". And she sure did, she said" girls, stop" and they continued bullying, and she continued ignoring. I will not ever forget that.
    Than we are expected to go home and do another 3 hours of school work, dinner takes an hour, than you have to do chores, and possibly shower if you have the time. How do we have the time to be human? How do we have the time to deal with depression? It's hard and not all of us make it through.

    You need to see the real problem here. This school very blatantly lied about is seniors.The lie will not rest. And for some like me, it really hurt. It ripped my insides out that they would do something so cruel. To make the grieving mother think that we all despise her, the mother of David, who created him, and now what is left of him.
    I would never graduate for such people. I would rather spit at them and rip my diploma to pieces than give them any slight feeling of satisfaction for what they have caused me and my classmates,

    Provocateur, you do not understand depression. How dare you blame the mother for the cause of his death. You think she wanted him to do that? You think he wanted to? People like you are the reason things like this happen. You simply don't care about anyone but yourself and your own thoughts and opinions.
    You fit right in, congratulations. I hope it makes you feel wonderful when you are lying in bed at night thinking about all the wonderful things you did today by trying to make a situation worse than it is. People like you make me realize exactly what kind of people inhibit this Earth. This is what depresses me, and probably David too. This is why it is hard to hold onto what ever hope we have. I see this every day. And every day it makes me feel worse and worse. WHERE IS YOUR LOVE? WHERE IS YOUR COMPASSION? WHERE IS YOUR RESPECT?

     
  • Provocateur posted at 11:12 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    Provocateur Posts: 24

    "School thwarts grieving mom...", really Mr. Biggerstaff, I would think that you would have a better sense of journalistic objectiveness. Your constant hit pieces on the MUSD schools are shameful and should warrant cancellation of subscriptions to the HDS. Let me get right to the point, this wouldn't have been an issue if the parents/mother had given the young man a solid set of coping skills to deal with the difficulties of being a young adult. You parents that are whining about your children not getting an education at YVHS need to stop complaining and get involved with your child/students lives. Show up to Parent/Teacher conference meetings, ask the teachers how your child is behaving or if they see any signs of questionable behavior. The faculty/staff at YVHS are among the most dedicated people in this community and I would suggest that you encourage/support them instead of vilifying their work. QUIT BLAMING OTHER PEOPLE FOR YOUR LACK OF ATTENTION TO YOUR CHILDREN AND THEIR SUCCESS.

     
  • nowammys posted at 10:27 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    nowammys Posts: 7

    We'll see contagion suicide the more we hype this up and blame the school as insensitive. Mob mentality going on here. Why didn't the reporter ask how what a grief counselor, psychologist, or social worker would say about her walking? The schools principals response to give her the diploma off stage is exatly the appropriate way to deal with this. This community thrives off drama and does not know how to be content with the mundane. Celebrating this issue will detract from the celebration of others and send the wrong message to kids dealing with similar issues. They need to be taught that the world will cry for you, but in a few months they will get on w/ their lives and forget you. That's how people survive. Some of the proposals and vitriol that's being expressed here Increases the chances of it happening again. Stop picking the wound. The reason why the school has the policy is that they have consulted professionals that understand the nature of suicide and their response was on point. Watch out if this gets more hyped than it already is.

     
  • lisalisa posted at 6:01 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    lisalisa Posts: 15

    Meowity, My apologies. You are right. I plan on being nearby on graduation to applaud David Ericson and his mom when his name is called if possible. Thank you.

     
  • Karen Brenneman posted at 8:48 pm on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    Karen Brenneman Posts: 10

    Disduke- if there is one thing this school does NOT have is 'over educated' staff. LOL ;)
    I have yet to meet ONE teacher there that is worth his/her weight in salt.

    They wanna teach our kids about depression, there is that commercial about 'We've Been There" and yet, when there is a perfect time to raise awareness, they dont. I hope some of the senoirs get together and TAKE THE MICROPHONE AWAY and recognize this woman and her son. This lady has just as much right to receive her sons diploma as the other two mothers did.

    I am PRO natural. There ARE WAYS TO SLOW, STOP, REVERSE and evenCURE CANCER. Yet, a student died from cancer. Very sad indeed. However you don't see me yelling that if they gave the child hemp oil, iodine, and ph water that they could have saved this child and it is that is neglect on the parents part therefore 'abuse'- and then stating that 'I don't promote abuse, so you cant walk for your child'. It was out of the parents hands. They did everything they could do for their child as best as they could. And they received the diploma for their child. This lady I AM SURE, did all she could do for her son. The DISEASE was too far gone, like a cancer. LET HER WALK! I will be at this graduation, my son is graduating... lord help me stay calm and not get arrested! Mother to mother, I am on HER side!

     
  • Karen Brenneman posted at 8:37 pm on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    Karen Brenneman Posts: 10

    Desert Lily- You are just about as stupid as they come. Sharp as a marble! His suicide was from depression. Just as death is a result of cancer, it is also a result of depression. Idiot.

     
  • Meowity posted at 6:16 pm on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    Meowity Posts: 11

    It would be a bit more orderly to have her come at the end, and likely much easier considering we don't want to cry (if we do) in the middle of the ceremony. I'm just happy she can walk with us. Still though, the lie needs to be corrected and announced. What a horrible thing to say and coming from people that we are suppose to look up to. It's so overly discouraging. So, so many things are wrong about this situation and I'm glad we are being heard. The picketing is still on for Tuesday at 3:30, at lucky park.

     
  • lisalisa posted at 5:40 pm on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    lisalisa Posts: 15

    Why should it be at the end of the ceremony??? Was it that way for other students who had passed away??? Hope their article in Wednesday's paper explaines this.

     
  • lisalisa posted at 2:23 pm on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    lisalisa Posts: 15

    I too want to thank everyone for making enough noise to correct this situation. Unbeleivable how they tried to use the students. Thank you to my facebook friends who also helpd with this. Good stuff!!!!

     
  • justmyopinion posted at 2:10 pm on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    justmyopinion Posts: 3

    Some of MUSD policies were last updated in the 80's and 90's which had many errors and did not seem professional. Some of the documents(policies) nobody had known when they were last updated.

    I do feel sorry for the secretary if she was told to respond in this manner. If she took it upon her self to respond this way without asking, thinking, or wondering if this was the right way to respond to a grieving parent then maybe next time she will.

    Their office staff is rude good luck with anyone ever making eye contact or acknowledging you when entering the office. Every time I questioned why certain things could not happen I received the run around and repetitive answers. Nobody knew how to answer and thought I was going to forget about it. I always used email or letters to keep records of responses, and many of them weren’t responded to. You always have to raise a stink to get anything accomplished correctly or up to standards. I fought one policy which I was told it was a CA education Code, well guess what it wasn't.
    I think the young mans mother deserves to walk for her son!

    The MUSD says no comment to protect the privacy of the family. MUSD how are you protecting the families privacy by knowing and responding to the way he died as a suicide. You didn't respect the mothers privacy. How do you know how he died, probably because you "heard" about it. It really is not any of their business how the young man died. They say they don’t promote suicide, so do they promote teen pregnancy? Do they promote homosexuality? Because they walk and receive their diploma, so is your decision a personal decision MUSD?

    I hope the turn out tomorrow is overwhelming for the MUSD and brings much needed attention to MUSD in other areas as well. I am happy to see the mother respond in an appropriate manner, and not lash out in anger as I'm sure she is angry.

    I seen one teacher calling a boys parent because he was talking during class as she's dialing she looks at the Hispanic boy (who does not have an accent of speak Spanish) and ask does your mother speak English? very sarcastically. yet nothing was done to this teacher. Now that the light is shining on MUSD and they opened their own can of worms, somebody please get a handle on this school district.

    Since when do the students chose or vote on such a decision? If that's the case the students should vote on many other things that go on at the campus.
    Mental Health is a sensitive subject, people don’t choose to have something wrong with them, it could be your child suffering from mental illness or a mental disability. Society places a stigma on mental health and by MUSD using suicide as an excuse your helping that stigma grow. Allow this mother to accept his diploma in a respected manner with his family present.

    http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/

     
  • Meowity posted at 1:54 pm on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    Meowity Posts: 11

    Ms.Reyna can now join us at graduation to honor David! Thank you so much for all of the help. Lets not forget that the senior class DID NOT make the decision in the first place. We are not cruel or "stupid" kids. We are kids that have a lot of heart and compassion. We worked really hard to be where we are now and it's a shame the staff of YVHS had to create such a disgusting lie to cover up for their own mistake. If we did not come together for this, our requests would have continued being ignored. I can't thank all of you enough for helping.. It means so so much to so many people that you are willing to stand up for what is right, and not cower. You are not just helping us, but the world we live in, and that some day, our kids will live in too. - -Purity

     
  • Floyd Brown posted at 12:26 pm on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    Floyd Brown Posts: 9

    Very ridiculous but desertlilly has her/his sights set on the wrong person, the secretary was only doing his/her job as told to do, that person made no decisions only was doing their job.

     
  • roguewarrior posted at 11:42 am on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    roguewarrior Posts: 160

    One final thought, I know all too well what this family is going through. My dad took his own life 20 years ago this August. Suicide of a loved one is a stigma which never goes away! I'd suggest to this "clueless" secretary to do some further research on suicide. Suicide is a form of mental illness and empathy ought to be given. This mother needs closure and something to latch on to during this very sad time.

     
  • joycelynrasted posted at 11:33 am on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    joycelynrasted Posts: 1

    This is so sad and ridiculous!! I can't believe they tried to blame it on the senior class. I just posted the petition on my facebook and asked all my friends to sign and share. I hope it helps you get to your goal. I am going to try and show up at lucky park tomorrow for a little while before school, this just really hits a nerve as I have mental health problems too and it's been out of hand lately. My heart goes out to you Reyna, I'm so sorry for your loss.

     
  • roguewarrior posted at 8:53 am on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    roguewarrior Posts: 160

    This disgusting display of insensitivity is nothing new for YVHS. The buck stops with Principal Carl Phillips. Phillips, if he were a man of substance, could override this decision and honor the family's request. However, odds on this happening are "slim and none." A few years, back, our family had a situation involving our child. While our situation is very different from this one, our family asked Phillips if our child could walk in the ceremony and receive a placard in place of a diploma since he was a couple of credits shy of the mandatory credits required for graduation. Phillips flat out laughed at us and along with MUSD, treated us as though we were second-class citizens. Phillips, along with many teachers at YVHS, have no business around kids. He is an extremely insensitive person who only sees the world in "black and white" with no regard for the feelings of the students or family members. I could go into greater detail about how our child was treated, however, out of respect for this grieving family, I will stop here. YVHS and its staff are complete jokes in our mind. So while my heart goes out to this family, I'm not surprised with its lack of sympathy and empathy on behalf of Phillips, YVHS staff members and the MUSD. Shame on Phillips, the secretary and YVHS in general. My heart is with this family!!

     
  • mcallahan posted at 8:23 am on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    mcallahan Posts: 2

    this is all wrong...honor her request and honor her son

     
  • desert lily posted at 7:21 am on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    desert lily Posts: 233

    Jesus would be so proud of that secretary!! Glad she has her values in order.

     
  • Dave Peach posted at 7:14 am on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    Dave Peach Posts: 2998

    Sympathy is extended to Ms. Madrid, jimjam, the students, the community and all other victims of depression and/or other types of pain, particularly when compounded with insensitivity and stupidity.

    Subsequent to dealing with thoughts of suicide daily, without exception, for about fifteen very long years while many times making plans and a few times very nearly carrying them out, and after witnessing yet worse episodes, "promotion" was determined to be overcome with education and caring.

    The most profound concern involves whether the actual source of the unnecessarily and irresponsibly imposed additional pain will be allowed to continue as a community risk and public peril.

    Unless the destructive decision and the unfounded personal notions are reversed, removal and replacement warrants more widespread intolerance and insistence.

     
  • lisalisa posted at 7:03 am on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    lisalisa Posts: 15

    Please go to the link provided by Meowity and sign the petition. Thank you.

     
  • Meowity posted at 12:18 am on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    Meowity Posts: 11

    woops, copy this link and paste in your "www." search bar. It is the petition and we are half way there.

    https://www.change.org/petitions/morongo-unified-school-district-honor-my-son-at-his-2013-high-school-graduation-allow-me-to-walk-for-him?utm_campaign=share_button_mobile&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

     
  • Meowity posted at 12:17 am on Mon, May 13, 2013.

    Meowity Posts: 11

    Here is the petition link, it has been going on for a few days now. Please forward it to anyone you can and thank you so much for the help. There will be a meeting on Tuesday at 3:30 at lucky park, which is across from MUSD. Bring your fluids, signs, and voices. We need as many as we can get to make noise.

    https://www.change.org/petitions/morongo-unified-school-district-honor-my-son-at-his-2013-high-school-graduation-allow-me-to-walk-for-him?utm_campaign=share_button_mobile&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition

     
  • lisalisa posted at 11:47 pm on Sun, May 12, 2013.

    lisalisa Posts: 15

    Thank you to everyone for your support. Let's not stop here. I will be emailing the school tomorrow or by snail mail requestig that this mistake be corrected. It is really informative learning what really happened courtesy of Meowity. Hopefully it wont have to go as far as a petition. If I have to I will go door to door getting signatures along with a online petition for the administration of YVHS to step up and do what is right.

     
  • Meowity posted at 7:13 pm on Sun, May 12, 2013.

    Meowity Posts: 11

    US SENIORS DID NOT VOTE ON THIS. That is a horrible and disgusting lie. They have no proof what so ever. I did not get to vote, along with any other seniors in my class. The school administers are the ones at fault here, like Tom Baumgarten who CONFIRMED that we kids voted. Well we did not, and I would love to see the voting ballots that were counted and confirmed, because there are NONE. This school is causing me so much grief I think by the time things are settled I will have filed for a grievance. At this point, myself walking at graduation is on halt. Since the school doesn't "Promote suicide" by honoring a deceased child's mother at the graduation I guess they DO PROMOTE BEING A PEDOPHILE since they calmly allowed a pedophile to attend the school, one who was well over 18 years old, and this was not longer than 3 years ago, while I was a freshman. We, SENIORS, DID NOT vote. And I say that DIPLOMAS WALK TOGETHER OR I DO NOT WALK AT ALL. How cruel can these people be? To the administers of Yucca Valley High School and The Morongo Basin School District, you can not lie about an entire senior class and you will not silence us. You are so wrong and the truth is here. What proof do you have?

     
  • rikosasmom posted at 6:54 pm on Sun, May 12, 2013.

    rikosasmom Posts: 1

    This is the perfect example of this school district's lack of concern for its students and their families. I hope that you take this to the State and even the Federal level if you need to so this decision can be overridden. Perhaps if the State gets involved, MUSD will finally be inspected and forced to treat their students and families with respect. It isn't just YVHS either. TPHS is equally apathetic and both turn blind eyes to bullying and illnesses of our children, with the staff being the biggest bullies of all. Good luck to you in getting this decision overturned. You have the support of my family and friends and we are spreading the news of your mistreatment as far and wide as possible to help you get your wish. Your son EARNED his diploma and you should be allowed to accept it on his behalf! Thank you for telling your story and bringing this to light.

     
  • lisalisa posted at 10:33 pm on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    lisalisa Posts: 15

    Mrs. Reyna,
    I too am sorry for your loss. I too offer to help you with correcting this situation. Feel free to email lmsheaffer@hotmail.com

     
  • Desert Rose posted at 5:10 pm on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    Desert Rose Posts: 8

    The senior class did not make this decision. Most students and staff were unaware this was going on until the article came out. This issue was discussed but not voted on according to one member of the student govt. because "it was not our decision to make". I would hate to see the entire senior class vilified because admistration refuses to return phone calls or even worse, passes the blame onto students. David had friends and teachers who were deeply saddened and shocked by his passing. Let's put accountability where it belongs. This never should have been handled by the school secretary. I encourage those offended by these actions to speak or write letters and emails to the Board of Education and to Principal Phillips. Your opinion matters! If enough members of this community voice their concerns, it will make a difference and allow the healing process for David's family to continue by allowing her to accept his diploma at graduation. I applaud Reyna Madrid for taking this to the press. I would like extend my condolences for her loss and my apologies for the callous treatment she received from our school.

     
  • RD posted at 1:23 pm on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    RD Posts: 443

    Unbelievable. The senior class made this decision? Really? If that's true then the senior class hasn't learned enough about life, empathy and compassion. They aren't ready to be let loose upon the world waiting for them outside of their school and town. They aren't mature enough.

    Tom Baumgarten and Carl Phillips may want to hide behind the secretary and the student's decision ... but are THEY mature enough to know how wrong this is?

    If suicide is the reason for this decision then Mr. Baumgarten and Mr. Phillips may want to bring in a qualified mental health professional to speak with the senior class ... and with THEM ... to learn more about depression and other mental health illnesses that may lead people to suicide. It's hard to believe that in 2013 there are 17 and 18 year olds who are so ignorant of the issue that they would be making a decision like this. And worse ... the staff of the school is apparently just as ignorant.

    If these two men are allowed to let this situation proceed as they plan ... they should be removed from their positions. They should NOT be working with or on behalf of students if they don't see how wrong this is ... how horrible of a life-lesson this is for their students and for those who have a mental illness and have to cope with the attitudes being expressed by the students and the school staff.

    I challange the HI-DESERT STAR to KEEP ON THIS STORY and call out EVERY school official that is or should be involved in this issue. All of them ... every single one of them.

     
  • disduke posted at 12:19 pm on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    disduke Posts: 5

    Typical Yucca High! The most ignorant, over educated, arrogant staff I’ve ever had the misfortune of allowing to teach my children. I thank God every time I hear other parents complain about those people that my kids have graduated and not attending that joke of a school anymore.
    It’s not about how he died you cold hearted idiots; it’s about how he lived! If walking on stage to accept her sons diploma that he earned makes her feel better, than let her! God help your cold souls..
    Dianna Doltar
    Pioneertown,

     
  • jimjam posted at 11:47 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    jimjam Posts: 386

    I would just like to say that Reyna Madrid is a kind, compassionate mother who loved her son and was very proud of him. She tried to set an example for him by graduating from nursing school and pursuing a career in the medical field. I know how hard she tried and I know how she is feeling right now. I too lost a child to suicide. For a time, Reyna helped me stay alive through her time spent as a dialysis tech.Thank you Reyna for what you have done to help me and I am so sorry for your loss. If I can tell you anything it would be ..." Don't try to put a question mark where God puts a period." Again... I am sorry for your loss.

     
  • carldhparmley posted at 11:46 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    carldhparmley Posts: 1

    Mrs. Madrid, I am sorry for your loss. Our children knew each other in school and I can tell you my daughter was crushed by this incident. My wife and I have also had experience with YVHS and MUSD apathy, lack of dignity and dedication to their charge. Your son earned that diploma. I know my daughter held him in high regard. The school has no place to pass any moral judgment on the tragedy you have experienced. To be told by the administration that the school does not support suicide is about the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard, yet I can't say I'm surprised to hear such a ludicrously idiotic and insensitive comment made to you, during your grieving of all times. There is a website called change.org that creates online petitions. You can tell your story and the website will gather electronic petition signatures from anyone who wishes to sign. I think it would be fantastic to present a stack of signatures to the board demanding an apology from the school and to allow you to accept what your son earned for him. I feel the community should most certainly come together to support the grieving of your son and the loss of what he had to offer. Stay strong ma'am and if you or anyone would like to contact my wife or myself to help fix this please contact me at carldhparmley@yahoo.com. I've had just about all I can handle of the disgusting behavior exhibited by this school.

     
  • kesslerskidz posted at 10:19 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    kesslerskidz Posts: 1

    I am very sorry for your loss and you should continue to fight for whats right! My family lost my Brother tomorrow on Mother's Day will be 4 years and losing someone to suicide is one of the hardest ways to lose a loved one. Suicide is an illness and not "an easy way out" Unfortunately suicide is on the rise. It is very sad that the school is treating this Mother and her family the way they are. There are so many pressures in life, and when one is successful they live life so afraid of ever failing, there are so many different aspects of why one may committ suicide so before anyone even begins to judge just remember we are all human and we have our own battles.
    I am taking Perspectives on Death and Dying at CMC and this is a class I believe everyone should take. At the begining of the semester the class took a survey and now we are toward the end of the semester the teacher read back the numbers of that survey and 50% of the class has seriously considered at one point committing suicide. SHOCKING isn't it! Suicide is very serious and very sad. Do your homework judgemental uneducated people, It could very easily be your child, Mother, Father, Brother, Sister etc!

     
  • desertdestiny posted at 10:12 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    desertdestiny Posts: 18

    I cannot understand YVHS's lack of compassion for this grieving Mom. I applaud her for wanting to remember the wonderful things her son accomplished in his lifetime. I hope she sues them!

     
  • lisalisa posted at 9:18 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    lisalisa Posts: 15

    Looking online there is nothing stated in California law that I have found stating that a earned high school diploma can be held back due to suicide. The only reason I could find is if money was owed for school materials or due to damage caused by the student.

     
  • lisalisa posted at 9:12 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    lisalisa Posts: 15

    Not only did he graduate EARLY he was also in the military. And I would even go so far as to threaten with a lawsuit if I was the parent. Don't give up and don't shut up until they do what is right!!

     
  • lisalisa posted at 9:09 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    lisalisa Posts: 15

    It's nice to know Yucca Valley High School does not promote suicide as I am quite sure no other schools do as well. How stupid and cruel are you people????? This is beyond DISGUSTING and ALL OF YOU should be ASHAMED ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES. I hope she takes this to the next level and if anyone thinks this is good cause to picket outside the high school lets do it.

     
  • berrysjsrd posted at 8:14 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    berrysjsrd Posts: 262

    And these are the people we entrust our children with? How callous, how insensitive, what does it matter how he died. To think that this is school policy allowing some "privileged" parents to accept their child's diploma. Shame on the Yucca Valley School District!

     
  • Dave Peach posted at 6:49 am on Sat, May 11, 2013.

    Dave Peach Posts: 2998

    "Am I really hearing this?’”

    "The decision had been made by the senior class." "School officials have denied her request."

    What are they teaching? Sympathy and sorrow combined with outrage is particularly upsetting.

    Expanding tragedy with insensitivity and cruelty is especially sick and intolerable.

    At least one school board member will undoubtedly get an earful this morning.
    Additionally, it won't end there.

     

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