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8th-Grader Found Dead on Campus. School Sends All Students Home.

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Middle School Sends All Students Home After 8th Grader Is Found Dead on Campus

On Tuesday, a North Carolina middle school was dismissed early after an eighth-grade student died while on campus. 

Wendell Middle School in Wake County outside Raleigh, sent out a statement to parents announcing a 10:45 a.m. dismissal due to a “medical crisis.”

“This is an urgent message,” the statement began. “Students are safe. We will be dismissing at 10:45 a.m. today, Sept. 6, due to a medical crisis on campus.”

Later in the afternoon an update from the principal, Catherine Trudell, clarified that a boy had died on campus, but no official cause for the death was given, Durham’s Herald Sun reported.

However, the Sun also reported that “multiple posts on social media, including a Facebook post from a Raleigh church whose pastors went to the scene, said the student died from an apparent suicide at the school.”

“It is an unexpected loss, and we are saddened by it,” Trudell wrote, WRAL-TV reported.

Due to federal privacy laws, Wake County school officials would not provide any further information about the crisis until the family of the deceased gave their consent. 

“As a parent or guardian, you have the opportunity to decide if this is information you want to share,” Trudell wrote, according to local outlet WECT. She told students and others affected by the tragedy that “Transitions GriefCare offers a range of support services to help students explore, understand and express their grief. Their services are available to anyone in our community at no cost.”

The death took place the same day that the Wake County school board hosted a presentation on suicide awareness, as part of the broader look at the district’s mental health improvement plan.

“Some of our schools are getting some unique challenges this week,” Wake County board chairwoman Lindsay Mahaffey said at the start of Tuesday’s regular meeting. “Although intentionally vague, I do want to lift them up and know that we’re thinking of them and holding them in our hearts,” she added.

“My heart breaks for the Wendell Middle School community. Please join me in lifting the family, students, and staff in your thoughts and prayers,” Tyler Swanson, a candidate for the Wake County Board of Education, wrote in a Twitter post.