Pender Early College High School students evacuated Monday as a precaution.
BURGAW -- A Pender County student is in the hospital after he did harm to himself in front of his classmates Monday.
Capt. James Rowell of the Pender County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that deputies responded Monday to Pender Early College High School, which operates out of Cape Fear Community College’s Burgaw campus. Rowell said a student had intentionally injured himself in the classroom.
“We did respond to an incident in which a student harmed themselves, but no other students were harmed,” he said.
Rowell declined to detail the circumstances of the injury, but noted that the boy was taken to a hospital. His condition was not immediately known Tuesday.
“An incident occurred yesterday morning while students were arriving to Early College campus involving a student who attempted to injure themselves,” schools spokeswoman Miranda Ferguson wrote in an email. “Students were evacuated from the building as a precaution. Crisis counselors were on site yesterday, and will be on site the rest of the week and beyond to assist students and staff.”
A mother whose daughter was in the classroom at the time of the incident told the StarNews that it involved the student setting fire to himself. Ferguson declined to say whether the incident involved a fire.
"Out of respect to this student and in line with our policy, the district will not provide this information," she wrote.
The mother, who asked that her name not be used, said parents received an automated call from the district Monday stating that a student had tried to harm himself, but not detailing the incident. She said her daughter, one of two of her children who attends PECHS, was disturbed by the incident.
“She was in shock yesterday -- she was shaking and she was almost acting like nothing happened when she came home from school, and that’s not really healthy,” the mother said. “She said, ‘Mom, I was close enough to him that I could have reached out and touched him, and he was covered in flames'.”
She said she wanted to see the school district do a better job of spotting red flags with students who may be struggling emotionally and psychologically.
“I feel terrible for his parents,” she said. “It’s really terrible. Their whole lives have been turned upside-down. But at the same time there’s an issue with safety with the rest of the children.”
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Reporter Cammie Bellamy can be reached at Cammie.Bellamy@StarNewsOnline.com.