HERRIMAN, Utah (ABC4 News) – Two Utah Jazz players took time out of the day to stop in at Herriman High to lend support to the schools Hope Squad who helps prevent teen suicide in their communities.
In a post on the Jordan School District Twitter, Jazz players Ekpe Udoh and Tyler Cavanaugh surprised the students during a basketball game on Tuesday.
The Herriman High Hope Squad works throughout the year to listen to their peers, provide much-needed support and to give hope to those suffering from suicidal thoughts.
Last year, Jordan School District implemented new training and invested $1 million into making sure their staff learns intervention tactics and the types of red flags to watch out for after losing seven students in the first 5 months of 2018.
The district even brought in nationally renowned suicide prevention expert, Dr. Scott Poland, to help.
Poland is a professor at Nova Southeastern University who travels the country to speak on school crisis, youth violence, and suicide prevention.
KayCee DeYoung is a theater teacher at Herriman High School. She says the last year was tough.
“We care about these kids,” said DeYoung. “We’re not here because of the paycheck. We’re not here for any glory or fame. We’re not here other than because we love our students. We want them to be happy.”
South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey released a statement on the district’s efforts saying as a parent she has seen first-hand the great efforts of their young people, teachers, counselors administrators, parents and members of the Herriman High community to combat suicide.
“I appreciate all Jordan School District is doing by taking such significant action district-wide,” said Ramsey. “At their Board Meeting this past Tuesday I heard nationally renowned expert Dr. Scott Polland, applaud the significant efforts of the District, saying it is extremely rare for a school district to go to such great lengths to prevent suicide.”
Help is available 24/7 through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For more information, click here.