Smithville Junior High student attempts suicide on campus


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 6:20 PM

SMITHVILLE, Texas -- Frightened parents held their children tight at Smithville Junior High School Wednesday morning.

"Oh God, it was horrible. It was horrible," said Amber Nelson, the mother of a Smithville Junior High School student.

Just before 9 a.m. news started spreading that a student tried to commit suicide on campus.

"I was shocked. You don't really expect something like that in Smithville. It's a small town, everybody pretty much knows everybody, knows everything that's going on," said Jazmine Sepulveda, who came to the school Wednesday to pick her sister up.

"When I called they just said, 'We can't release any information.' And I asked, you know, 'Can I just ask, you know, if my kid is okay?' And they couldn't tell me anything. It was awful," Nelson added.

Nelson started calling and texting her son, fearing he was hurt.

"The worst, you know, you can't get a hold your kid. And it's just terrible," Nelson said.

Nelson's son, Dalton Stephens, said he had no idea what was going on until a counselor came into the classroom.

"Told everybody we're on lock down [and to] get down. We all got in a corner," said Stephens. "I was just like, maybe this is a drill. Like usually we do drills. And then we sat there for an hour and I was like, 'Something's up now.' And then she started calling me and I was like 'Something's wrong.'"

The rumors were right. A student tried to commit suicide on campus with a gun.

"It's with a sad heart that we announce that a tragedy has occurred today at Smithville Junior High School. Today a student was seriously injured due to an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound," said Smithville ISD Superintendent Rock McNulty, Ed.D.

District officials said the shooting happened in between classes in a restroom and that no other students were around at the time. The student was taken to an Austin-area hospital with serious injuries.

The student's age and gender have not been released.

"Very scary moment. Very scary moment," said Smithville Junior High parent Kevin Carlton.

The parents and teachers in Smithville say they will do what small towns do best: Pull together in a time of need to help each other and the children.

"This afternoon we will have adults accompany students home on the buses. They will be constantly with adults," said McNulty. 

"We just pray. We pray for them so much, and I was praying for them on the way, and I'll be praying for them all the way home. I just can't imagine. I can't imagine," added Carlton. 

Starting on Thursday Smithville School District will have additional counselors on campus to talk with students. The superintendent says they will be available as long as the students and staff need them.