Pickerington Local closes all schools Friday after adult died by suicide at Ridgeview
Pickerington Local School District has announced that all schools in the district will be closed Friday to allow students time to process after Ridgeview Junior High School was placed on precautionary lockdown Thursday morning because of a man's suicide in an administrative office at the building.
Initially, only Ridgeview was going to be closed, but the district later announced Thursday afternoon that classes at all schools in the district will be canceled Friday "in light of the severity of the tragic incident that occurred."
"Families, please use this time to talk with your children to help them process through the events of the day," the district said in a release.
All Ridgeview afterschool activities on Thursday and Friday were canceled, and Pickerington City Schools will be offering counseling services from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday at Pickerington Central High School's gymnasium.
"While no students were witness to the tragic incident that occurred this morning at Ridgeview, we understand that students and staff may need support as they process what occurred today," the district said in an earlier statement Thursday.
The situation began unfolding shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday inside an administrative office at the school, located on Hill Road South off of State Route 256.
Police Chief Tod Cheney said a detective had been called to the school earlier in the morning after a report of a "possible criminal act" by a relative of a junior high student. The detective spoke briefly with the adult male, who is believed to be the stepfather of the student and was separated in the office from the student and several other adults, the chief said.
The man pulled out a handgun during that brief conversation and shot himself in the office area, Cheney said.
Parents were asked to not approach the junior high school during the lockdown because students were not being released to parents there. Instead, students were being moved by bus to Pickerington Central High School.
The district arranged for buses to be at the high school by 11:30 a.m. to take students home. Those students who were being picked up by their parents were being kept in the high school's field house. Parents were to enter the high school from Lockville Road and Opportunity Way and bring an ID to sign out their student. To depart, they were being instructed to exit school grounds on Opportunity Way and Hill Road South.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, reach out for support by calling or texting 988 to connect with the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Those in crisis can call 911.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Pickerington closes all schools Friday after suicide in office