12-year-old student's death sparking bullying concerns in Klein ISD

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Student's death sparking bullying concerns in Klein ISD
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Student's death sparking bullying concerns in Klein ISD

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A community in Klein is mourning the loss of a seventh-grade student at Wunderlich Intermediate School.

In a letter sent to parents, the principal said that 12-year-old Jesus Martinez "died unexpectedly over the weekend."

Questions over the child's death immediately swirled on social media, and many people suggested that he may have been bullied.

ABC13 Eyewitness News spoke with Martinez' father, who said that his family doesn't know why the child took his own life. They are looking into whether bullying played a role.

The Medical Examiner's Office ruled Martinez' death a suicide, and said he died from complications of hanging sustained at his family home. He ultimately died at the hospital.

Klein ISD issued a statement regarding the incident:

Jesus Martinez was one of our students at Wunderlich Intermediate. Jesus died unexpectedly over the weekend. Klein ISD does not comment on cause of death. The Klein ISD Critical Incident Response Team was on campus Tuesday and will continue to be available to support our campus and any student in need. Klein ISD does not tolerate bullying of any kind. Should students feel as though they are victims of bullying or believe that other students have experienced bullying, it is imperative that a teacher, counselor, or administrator be notified immediately. All complaints are promptly investigated and if bullying is substantiated, immediate corrective action is taken.

Klein ISD sent this statement home to parents:

Dear Wunderlich Intermediate Families,

It is with great sadness that I inform you that one of our students, Jesus Martinez, died unexpectedly over the weekend.
This tragic loss may affect your child in a variety of ways. The Klein ISD Critical Incident Response Team was on campus today and will continue to be available to support our campus and any student in need. Should you wish to share this information with your child, the Klein ISD Guidance and Counseling Department has enclosed some suggestions that may prove helpful to you as you discuss death:

  • Your child needs to feel that they are allowed to express their thoughts and feelings regarding the incident without the fear that they will be judged negatively. Listen carefully and affirm that you understand what they are feeling and thinking.
  • Continue to comfort your child by sharing you will be there for them, and you will see them through this period of grief.
  • You may need to spend additional individualized time with your child. Try to structure your time with them by playing games, having discussions and going places. During your time together, focus a majority of your attention on your child.
  • Don't be hesitant to ask your child how they are coping, even though you may expect an answer of, "fine." The fact that you ask will be important to your child, even though they may not show this.
  • Keep in touch with your child's teacher to monitor their academic performance.
  • Regardless of your child's response to you, reassurance is comforting to them that you are there if they need any assistance. You may want to outline just how you can help them (e.g. by talking or getting professional help).

This loss touches the hearts of many of our community members and you may wish to aid the family in their time of need. At this time, we are respecting the family's privacy and their time to grieve. If there is something we can do to assist the family as a community, we will communicate that information to you. Information about a service will be made available as soon as it is provided to us. If your child wishes to attend, we strongly encourage you to accompany him or her to the service. If the funeral is scheduled during school hours, students who wish to attend will need parental permission to be released from school.

Please feel free to contact the school if you have an issue you would like to discuss. We continue to have support available to help our students in the coming days. Please contact the school office at (832) 249-5200 if you feel your child is in need of additional assistance.

As always, we appreciate our community and the many ways we look after one another.

Friends and family have created a GoFundMe to help with funeral costs.

Follow Steve Campion on Facebook and Twitter.