By Joe Beck -- email@example.com
A 13-year-old student at Robert E. Aylor Middle School was found dead in her home Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning as a result of a suicide, school officials said Thursday.
"As you may already know, we lost one of our seventh grade students last night," principal David L. Rudy II said in a note sent home with each of the 625 students Wednesday.
"Students were informed . . .this afternoon, and grief counselors were available to comfort and talk with any students who asked to speak with an adult," Rudy said.
Steve Edwards, coordinator of policy, records management and communications for Frederick County Public Schools, said Thursday he had learned that officials from the Sheriff's Office believe the death to be a suicide.
Edwards said school officials do not believe the death was related to bullying. He attributed unverified information circulating online and elsewhere that cited bullying as a factor in the girl's death as a product of "the rumor mill."
"We did not share with the students that it was a suicide," Edwards said. "We just shared with students that one of their classmates died."
Capt. John Heflin of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office declined to comment on the case, citing restrictions on the release of information about juveniles.
Rudy said the victim was a gifted and talented student and "a very bright young lady."
The school's Web site also lists her as a member of the 7th grade honor roll during the first nine weeks of the school year.
Rudy said members of the school's crisis counseling team have met with several students since news of the death was announced.
Edwards said school officials want "to remind parents to keep an eye on students" for moods and actions that could be early warning signs of self-destructive behavior.
The Northern Virginia Daily's policy is to avoid publishing the names of suicide victims or report their deaths, except in instances where the news has already reached a significant segment of the community and are likely to be of interest to much of the readership.