Six Johnson County school districts teaming up to address growing teen suicide rate

Signs with encouraging messages lined the entrance to Shawnee Mission Northwest after the school had two students commit suicide earlier this year.

As Johnson County educators get ready for the new school to begin, the superintendents of six school districts here have announced a new initiative to address growing concerns about teen suicide in the area.

Under the initiative, the superintendents of the Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley, Olathe, Spring Hill, DeSoto and Gardner-Edgerton school districts will meet once a month to discuss best practices for preventing and addressing teen suicide.

The initiative comes after a 2017-18 school year that saw schools across the county coping with the loss of students who had taken their own lives, including schools in Shawnee Mission. In January, SM Northwest lost two students to suicide in the course of a week. In March, an Indian Hills Middle School student committed suicide.