AVON LAKE — Students at Avon Lake High School and Learwood Middle School were consoled by counselors Monday in the wake of the suicide of a 14-year-old girl over the weekend.
“It’s been a very tough day,” Avon Lake Schools Superintendent Robert Scott said as he talked about the aftermath of the death of Isabelle Clapp, an Avon Lake High freshman.
While the names of juveniles are normally not disclosed in such situations, the decision was made by school officials and the girl’s family to make it public, Scott said.
The girl had just started her freshman year at Avon Lake High School after having attended Learwood Middle School.
“She was a very well-liked girl who had lots of friends,” Scott said. “She had just been to the football game Friday night with a lot of friends.”
Isabelle Clapp was the daughter of Kent W. Clapp, head of Medical Mutual of Ohio, who died in December 2008 when the chartered plane he was aboard crashed into a mountainside in Puerto Rico.
“She was the apple of her father’s eye,” Scott said.
Avon Lake police Lt. Duane Streator confirmed the teen was found in her bedroom by another family member about 6 a.m. Saturday. She was deceased when police arrived a short time later, Streator said.
Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans has ruled the teen’s death a suicide.
Evans declined to discuss details of the case out of consideration for the girl’s family, her age and concerns over copycat episodes, which sometimes follow in the wake of teen suicides.
“I want to be very sensitive to the situation in that regard,” Evans said.
After information about the girl’s death was disseminated online and by social media, counselors met with about 100 students at the high school Saturday.
“They were there for almost two hours,” Scott said.
Counselors from the school system, Lorain County Community College and other places were on hand again Monday and planned to be available in coming days to help students come to terms with their grief and feelings over the teen’s death, Scott said.
“We have a lot of kids in need of help right now,” he said. “By 6:30 a.m. (Monday), we had over 20 trained counselors at the (high school) to work with kids all day long.”
The district is also using the services of counselors from the Lorain County Crisis Team, Scott said.
“We’ve got a few fragile kids we are watching very closely as they work their way through this,” Scott said.
The Avon Lake Ministerial Association also provided the services of several personnel to the schools.
“They are a very supportive group here in Avon Lake,” Scott said. “Several of them got here early in the morning.”
Scott noted that on some social media sites, messages posted alluded to the girl’s death possibly being linked to bullying.
“Right now, we’re talking with police and counselors, and from what we know from parents, we do not see anything along those lines,” Scott said. “There is no indication that she was bullied.”
Scott acknowledged there were other issues that may have had a bearing on the girl’s death, but he declined to elaborate.
Counselors will again be available for the large number of students anticipated to attend the visitation for Isabelle 2 to 7 p.m. today at Busch Funeral Home, 163 Avon Belden Road, Avon Lake.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Holy Spirit Church, 410 Lear Road, Avon Lake.
Members of the freshman football team will have the girl’s initials “I.C.” affixed to their helmets when they play North Olmsted on Thursday, Scott said.
Freshmen wore black to classes Monday, while other students wore items of yellow clothing in support of suicide awareness, he added.
Isabelle is survived by her mother, Teresa, brothers Alex, Nathan and Cameron, a stepbrother, Jason, and stepsister, Danelle.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or email@example.com.