Since coming back from summer break, Mason City Schools has had about 850 alerts for concerning searches or other similar activity on school devices, according to Superintendent Jonathan Cooper.
“‘How do I die?’ Or, ‘does it hurt to die?’ Or, ‘if I’m being abused should I die?’ Those are some of the literal searches we’re seeing come up,” he said.
Last year, the district had 43 students go through an “at-risk assessment,” which means there is increased likelihood that the student is having serious thoughts of suicide.
Just since the beginning of this school year, one racked by COVID-19 closures and uncertainty, 51 students have already gone through that same assessment. Cooper said a major theme they’re seeing in these cases is social isolation.