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Voorheesville Central School District responds to suicide

The Voorheesville Central School District is taking steps to respond to the Tuesday, April 27 suicide of, Jerry Clark, a Clayton A. Bouton High School student.

He was a great kid, very popular-a sweet natured and gentle soul, said Superintendent Teresa Snyder.

Undersheriff Craig Apple, of the Albany County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the death was in fact a suicide, and that it occurred "at a friend's house" in New Scotland, however, he said that the sheriff's office will not release any further details. "It's just a very sad situation," said Apple.

According to information from the school district, Clark was a Section 2 Division II wrestling champion, who represented the school in the New York State Wrestling Championships on Feb. 28, 2009. He was the first student to represent the school in the state championship since 1986. Clark was also an all-star football defensive back on the schools football team, according to information from the Section II league.

In a letter sent home to parents, Mark Diefendorf, principal of Clayton A. Bouton High School, said "Our thoughts go out to his family and friends and we are prepared to assist those-both students and staff-who have been impacted significantly or who have a need to discuss and process this event." Diefendorf goes on to say "the death of a young man is not just a school event, but a community event."

The letter details the steps the school has taken to respond to the crisis, first of which was to contact the school's staff and Crisis Management Team on the night of the student's death. The Crisis Management Team has put forth a plan that will convert the school's library into a counseling center, staffed by social workers, guidance counselors and psychologists to attend to grieving students. The district has also enlisted the help of the Albany County Department of Children to provide additional support, if needed.

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