Sad Events at the Family School
Contact: Sidney Parham 845-887-5213
(March 4, 2004) At approximately 8:20 a.m. on March 4, 2004,
a male student jumped from a second story balcony at the
Family Foundation School outside of Hancock, New York. Within
minutes trained school staff began CPR. He was transported
by ambulance to Delaware Valley Hospital where he was pronounced
dead on arrival.
The 17-year-old from Virginia had been at this emotional
growth school for just two weeks. After a difficult first
four days, the student seemed to be adjusting to his life
at the school. On Wednesday during group counseling, he confessed
to having had suicidal thoughts and was subsequently seen
by a staff Clinical Social Worker. During this interview,
the student indicated he had no plan to commit suicide or
harm himself in any way, said he felt better after talking
with the social worker. However, senior administration at
the school maintained it was standard practice for such situations
to continue monitoring the student for any changes that might
indicate an imminent crisis. The initial investigation revealed
no precipitating incident leading up to this tragedy and
no suicide note was found.
New York State Police and the Delaware County Sheriff’s
Investigative units were both on the scene, but an official
determination has not been made yet.
Religious and spiritual advisors who regularly work with
the students and the Delaware County Critical Stress Management
Team, are on campus to assist both staff and students in
coping with the shock and grief of this death.
At this unfortunate time in the Family Foundation’s 17-year
history of guiding at risk teenagers into responsible adulthood,
our primary focus is now on helping the family and friends
of this child as well as the other students at the school.