Canton-area high school deals with 6th student death since August

The Perry School District has suffered another loss. Another student has committed suicide.

WOIO Channel 19 in Cleveland is reporting that five students and one recent high school graduate have committed suicide since August 2017.

Officials say this is not a student problem or a police problem but a community problem.

They are calling it a suicide contagion, which is the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within one’s family, one’s peer group, or through media reports of suicide and can result in an increase in suicide and suicidal behaviors.

The first suicide was August, 14 when a freshman took his life. Then in September, a junior committed suicide and in November a 16-year-old girl killed herself. Another student, a 14-year-old, shot himself on New Year’s Day and then a 2017 graduate killed herself on Jan. 8. The most recent death was on Jan. 11 when a 15-year-old student committed suicide.

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14-year-old student arrested for setting fire at Lafayette school

A 14-year-old student has been arrested and booked for arson, accused of setting a fire at a Lafayette school Friday morning, according to KATC.

Lafayette firefighters responded to a call from N.P. Moss Preparatory School at 8:45 a.m. When firefighters arrived, all students were evacuated to their designated locations.

The fire was found inside a bathroom stall and was extinguished by a Lafayette Police School Resource Officer according to a fire department spokesman.

The fire caused heavy smoke damage inside the bathroom and there was moderate fire damage to one of the stalls. The damage was limited to the bathroom. The adjacent classrooms did not sustain any damage. No injuries were reported.

Fire investigators determined toilet paper inside the bathroom was set on fire.



Student pleads no contest to charges of planning a mass shooting at Ohio high school

A 17-year-old student has pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit murder for plotting a mass shooting in 2016 at a high school in Hilliard, Ohio.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that John T. Staley was arrested in October 2016 after a fellow student told a school resource officer at Davidson High School in Hilliard that he heard Staley discussing the plot on a school bus.

Staley was charged with a delinquency count of conspiracy to commit murder. A judge transferred the case to adult court in September.

Staley began speaking with fellow students in person and through an instant messaging app about committing a mass shooting during the 2015-2016 school year, and continued the plot into 2016-2017, prosecutors say. Two students feigned interest in assisting Staley.

By the time police became aware of his plans, Staley had created at least three diagrams to map out the shooting and conducted extensive internet searches about school shootings and how to obtain guns and ammunition and make explosives. A search of the home he shared with his parents uncovered four gas masks and a tactical vest.

Investigators searched Staley’s computer, cellphone and school-issued iPad and found Nazi, neo-Nazi and racist information and imagery, as well as sites glorifying school shooters.

Staley could be sentenced to as many as 11 years in adult prison. The conviction carries a presumption of prison, but Staley also could receive probation.


Barrington 4th grader dies of complications from flu, school officials confirm

An elementary student in the Barrington 220 School District has died of complications from the flu, school officials confirmed Tuesday.

The student was identified as Johnny Towler, a fourth grader at Grove Elementary, according to a letter from Travis Lobbins, the principal at Barrington Middle School's Prairie Campus. The boy's older brother is an eighth grader at the middle school.

Johnny died "unexpectedly over the winter break from a viral infection that attacked his heart, which is a rare complication from the flu," said Lobbins' letter to parents.

He died at Lutheran General Hospital on Dec. 31, 2017, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office. He died of myocarditis, which can be a rare complication from the flu.

Prairie will provide counselors for students and staff.

In a statement, the district said: "We are deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of one of our students, who was very much loved by the Barrington 220 community. We have extra counselors on hand this week for any students or staff who need support and our thoughts are with the student's family during this difficult time."

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Death at Sierra Vista elementary school being investigated as homicide

The Cochise County Sheriff's Office is investigating a death at a Sierra Vista elementary school as a homicide.

On Tuesday morning, CCSO placed a Hereford elementary school on lockdown due to reports of an active shooter on campus.

The school, Coronado Elementary School, is part of Palominas Elementary School District in Hereford.

According to neighboring Sierra Vista Unified School District Facebook, the incident involved a male student who shot himself to death.

The Cochise County Sheriff's Department explained the school originally called to report an active shooter, but once deputies went into one of the bathrooms, they found the body of a 14-year-old boy deceased from an apparent gunshot wound.

CCSO says they are investigating the death as a homicide until proven otherwise.

Once deputies cleared the school for possible threats, they allowed parents to pick up kids at Sierra Springs Church, 3574 E. Hereford Road in Hereford.

The Palominas School District Superintendent said the school will be in session tomorrow and there will also be counselors available to students and staff.



Flu widespread in 36 states, CDC reports

Outbreaks of influenza are getting an early start this year in part because of cold weather gripping much of the USA and low efficacy associated with this year's flu vaccine.

It's still too early to say whether this winter will be a bad season for the flu, but epidemiologists in 36 states already have reported widespread influenza activity to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in data released Friday. Twenty-one of those states show a high number of cases.

"It's just one of those years where the CDC is seeing that this strain of flu is only somewhat covered by the vaccine that was given this year," said Jennifer Radtke, manager for infection prevention at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. "They're seeing that it's anywhere from 10% to 33% effective, so any time there’s a mismatch between the vaccine and the circulating strain of the flu, you’re going to see more cases."

► Dec. 12: Does he have 'man flu'? One researcher claims it's for real
► Dec. 5: Flu season has arrived and it could be a bad one
► Nov. 22: Essentia fires about 50 workers for refusing to get flu shot

Peak flu activity in the U.S. usually occurs around February.

Vaccine effectiveness varies from year to year though recent studies show that a flu shot typically reduces the risk of illness by 40% to 60% among the overall population when the circulating virus is matched closely to the vaccine virus, according to the CDC.

Because only a certain percentage of people with flu symptoms go to hospitals and get tested, it can be challenging to track the actual number of people affected, Radtke said. False negative results for flu tests are also common, so it’s likely the number of people with the flu is much higher.

From the start of the flu season, which begins in October and lasts until May, Arizona has reported a nearly ninefold increase in the number of cases compared with the same period last year, according to the state Department of Health Services.

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Teen accused of on-campus rape confesses

Union Parish Sheriff's deputies said that a 19-year-old Downsville Charter School student accused on on-campus rape confessed after seeing video evidence.

Kenneth Dalton Thurston, of 711 Hwy. 552, Downsville, remained incarcerated Wednesday in the Union Parish Detention Center on a charge of third-degree rape.

Investigators said Thurston initially denied the accusations. He had waived his Miranda rights. When presented with evidence that the accusations were true, deputies said he admitted that there was forced sex involved.

Thurston was charged in connection with the sexual assault on a 17-year-old female student inside the school’s library, Sheriff Dusty Gates said. He is being held on a $75,000 bond.

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College Student Charged With Rape Takes Plea Deal

An Ohio college student charged with rape in what authorities said was a sexual assault on an unconscious woman has agreed to a plea deal.

The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reports 20-year-old Nicolas Cristescu, a Miami University student from Cleveland, pleaded guilty Thursday in a Butler County courtroom to gross sexual imposition. He was charged with rape, sexual battery and misdemeanor voyeurism. Those charges were dismissed.

Prosecutors said Cristescu recorded himself having sex with the woman after giving her a drug that rendered her unconscious in October.

He will be classified as a Tier I sex offender at his sentencing on Feb. 5 and faces as many as five years in prison.

Cristescu's attorney didn't return telephone messages seeking comment Friday.

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Nearly 200 flu cases reported in Montana, with 40 ending up in the hospital

Nearly 200 new cases of influenza across Montana, including 40 hospitalizations, were reported over the past two weeks, the Montana Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday.

There have also been several outbreaks around the state, the DPHHS said in a news release. The number is slightly higher than this time last year, but influenza activity tends to increase in December.

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