Calls For More Mental Health Support After Student Airlifted From School

A student at Palmetto Senior High jumped from a staircase on campus and has community members calling for more mental health support.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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Palmetto Senior High

Students, parents, and community members are reeling over a tragic incident yesterday that marred the beginning of the school year at the Palmetto Senior High in Florida. The occurrence, which has horrific videos circulating across news outlets and social media, depicts what appears to be a high school student jumping from a third-floor staircase on the campus. You can watch footage captured by cell phones below, but in warning, the content may be difficult to view.

Palmetto Senior High School was placed on lockdown after the incident in which a student fell from the third-floor staircase of a building at school. Many students who witnessed the fall say it was intentional. Video footage shows a security officer racing upstairs toward the young girl. Some students say that when security reached her, she let go on purpose.

A helicopter arrived on the scene and airlifted the student to a nearby hospital. Eyewitness students reported that she looked to have suffered serious head injuries. Other Palmetto Senior High students recount that some individuals on the ground attempted to break her fall. At this time, there is no official word on the teen’s condition.

Palmetto Senior High officials made the decision to leave the school open afterward. So far, they have received some backlash from students and parents who felt that given the tragic events, classes should have been canceled for the remainder of the day. The high school did, however, let families know that crisis counselors were being made available on campus for students to utilize. 

Students returned to Palmetto Senior High less than one week before the devastating incident took place. Students expressed their grief, shock, or lack thereof over the situation, given the state of youth mental health that is affecting millions all across the nation. According to interviews given to CBS News, one 9th grader lamented that “It’s sad. It not only happens here, it happens everywhere.” Another senior added, “I was shocked. Why did she do it. What was going through her head?”

Across Florida and the rest of the state, others expressed condolences over the matter at Palmetto Senior High. Most recognized the serious situation that is leading to an increase of similar incidents as a mental health crisis on adolescents wreaks havoc on students all across America. Democratic candidate for State Senator representing the Miami-Dade area reacted to the events on Twitter. She also took the time to assert that lawmakers have to “prioritize our children” with additional mental health resources in schools.

Mental health struggles have skyrocketed in the last decade. According to information from the CDC, one in three high school students will experience hopeless emotions. Additionally, one in six adolescents reports making a suicide plan. The issue has become so worrisome, that parents often have to look for inadvertent queues hinting at struggles. This year, a back-to-school necklace trend has been warning parents of the signs of teen suicide as children head into a new school year. 

There is no updated word on the condition of the teen who suffered injuries from the fall at Palmetto Senior High. For now, officials are taking this opportunity to remind families to watch for the signs of trouble in teens. Also, it is important for all to remember that help is available and that the national suicide hotline can be reached by calling 988.