As Sunlake High School deals with the death of a second student in less than a month, Principal Garry Walthall is reaching out families to make sure teens get the support they need.
“To assist our students and staff in handling the loss, a special crisis intervention team is serving our school,” Walthall wrote in a statement to parents following the Feb. 2 death of Alex Rodriguez. Walthall said an increased level of counseling will be available at the school for as long as students it.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office received a call at 6:54 a.m. Feb. 2 from 2928 Mingo Dr. in Lutz.
“He (Rodriguez) was found at his girlfriend’s parent’s house, possibly a drug overdose, but that will have to be determined by toxicology test,” Sheriff’s office spokesman Kevin Doll wrote in an e-mail.
Rodriguez was a former football player and was on the school’s track team. The senior, Walthall wrote, was known as “ARod.”
“We are grateful that Alex graced our school with his kind manner and enthusiastic personality,” Walthall said.
Rodriguez’s death is the second at Sunlake in recent weeks. Kiefer Allan, 15, was found dead outside his family’s apartment Jan. 13 from an apparent suicide, according to a sheriff’s office report.
Parents who would like more information on helping their teens through the deaths are asked to visit the school’s website. Information about coping with grief is available on the homepage.