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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Dragon Suicides

This Tuesday, I will be heading to Detroit to present oral argument to a 3-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals.  The appeal is from a summary disposition of my client's wrongful death claim against the parents of a Lake Orion High School senior.


The LOHS senior hosted an impromptu graduation party in May 2008 while his parents were out dining and socializing until nearly 1:00 am.  The parents returned to a teenage house party meltdown; students puking, passing out, the furious father of a drunk freshman girl on the phone demanding answers and threatening to call the police. 


Early the next morning, one of the good friends of the student that hosted the house party hung himself in the basement of the Lake Orion home.  The decedent's estate raised claims of negligence in the failure to supervise the LOHS students and wrongful death.  The defendants in the law suit, the homeowners, have been represented by a law firm hired through their homeowners insurance. 


The lawsuit was dismissed from the Oakland County Circuit Court; from this summary disposition, the decedent's parents have appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals; oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Tuesday morning in Detroit.


My clients are the parents of the decedent, apparently one of 9 LOHS students or graduates to have killed himself within the last four years.  Two of the suicides occurred just last month.


This rash of LOHS-related suicides has led to the initiation of an on-line petition through Facebook sponsored by Lake Orion Reach Out.  The Reach Out group also seeks the formation of a suicide prevention class to be taught at the high school.


What is it about LOHS and the surrounding community that could be causing students to take their own lives?  Is there any connection between the cases?
  
One of the many comments to the Oakland Press article linked above suggests that bullying occurs at the school.  While there is a correlation between teen-age bullying and suicide, I doubt it can explain this Oakland County phenomena.


Nevertheless, to its credit, the Lake Orion Community Schools is implementing a district-wide bullying prevention program.

Here is a recent editorial on this sad subject from the Lake Orion Review, published following this post.


And here are some resources if you, a family member, or a friend or loved one is at risk for suicide:

Suicide crisis lines

Suicide prevention, education and treatment

Most often, people on the verge of committing suicide feel hopeless and depressed.  They need to be given the hope and the strength to hang on for another day.  

They need to understand that suicide is an irreversible decision.  We need to identify and assist those among us who are at risk, before they reach the point of no return.


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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we need to be real careful about how we look at these suicides and possible reasons. You ask the question what is it about LOHS and the surrounding community that could be causing students to take their own lives like there is something wrong here. I have spent my entire adult life within this community, raised my family here, sent my kids to LOHS where they received a quality educational experience. You may be doing more harm then good by asking that question in that way.

In talking to a neighbor, who came from another state, when he was in high school, they had a rash of six suicides within a year, all students. Now that is a different problem then what we are seeing in Lake Orion, and your question may have some validity. But it may not be a valid question regarding LOHS and community. The suicides occurring in Lake Orion aren't related in this way.

I think other questions need to be asked also.
1. How does it reflect on the school if someone commits suicide and they are two to three years removed from LOHS, (as in the case of the last two suicides). How far removed from LOHS do you have to be to have a suicide not reflect on the high school? (Case in point; another death, occurring to an LOHS grad, not living in the community, suicide through drug use? Oh, he was 50 years old.)
2. And some not even living within the community anymore?
3. Were any of the individuals being treated for depression, (occurring after graduation), through the use of anti-depressants, which can have devastating side effects, suicidal thoughts being one of them?

Lake Orion has been a great place to live and work. I would hate to see our community and schools hurt by suggesting that there is something wrong within our community.

A Lake Orion supporter

December 8, 2011 at 9:22 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im sad to hear about the suicides over the past years, im a former lohs graduation and lake orion resident, i think we should have a support group and i also think we should remember the ones lost. give them our support which they obviuosly felt they didnt have when they were alive, but id like to point out as a graduate of the 90's decade we had alot of suicides back then, a few when i was in middle school, jr high and yes high school, i think we should be remebering them too, not just all those we lost in the past 4 yrs,but the ones we lost before if we didnt cover those up or not give them any attention..we may have learned something about it instead of thinking of it as taboo.

December 15, 2011 at 9:09 PM 
Blogger Unknown said...

Their is an epedemic in Lake Orion. Bullying, cyber bullying supported by nepotism, parent's coaching team's, favoring their child eliminate's participation for alot of student's

Lake Orion heavily support's medicating their student's I believe is the common cause. Jeremiah lived in our subdivision, was medicated and with in two week's took his own life.

Each student that is medicated give's Lake Orion and other school's a grant of $800.00. I have heard of teacher's telling student's "You may have ADHD (I do not believe ADHD exist's, just a way to medicate and profit off of medicating the student)

Consistent pattern including student being medicated and with in two to three week's the student has taken their own life. Very sad to write this yet very true. It's the combination of being excluded at Lake Orion and medication makes the child have horrible thought's, feeling bad and it's to late. My question is how many student's have taken their life in Lake Orion and is their a community, on earth, that has a higher suicide rate?

And local church's promote medication, insane yet true

December 5, 2016 at 12:37 PM 

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