State Rep. Kamia Brown of Ocoee called Tuesday for the state to redouble efforts to provide mental health services for students after the apparent suicide of a student at Minneola High School in Lake County Tuesday morning.

The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that a 17-year-old student named Seth Sutherland shot and killed himself in the school’s bus loop out front of the school during a fire drill. The paper quoted school officials as saying the boy was alone and the shooting was not witnessed.

“I want to extend my deepest condolences to the friends and family of Seth Sutherland, who we so tragically lost this morning. Our hearts are with you as we all mourn a life lost far too soon,” Brown stated in a release issued Tuesday afternoon.

Brown serves on the House Education Committee and the PreK-12 Appropriations and Quality subcommittees.

“As we learn more about the causes behind today’s incident, what is clear is that we must redouble our efforts to improve mental healthcare for students throughout Florida,” she added. “When we look at ways to improve our public school system, a renewed focus on providing the types of wrap-around services that could potentially prevent these types of tragedies is key. With teen suicide rates on the rise for the first time in two decades, there’s no time to waste in making the critical investments in our children they deserve.”

 

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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