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CVHS Students Wear Black, Mourn Teen Suicide

Community members also wrote 7,000 Valentine's Day cards. which were delivered to the students. Meanwhile, there are conflicting reports about whether bullying contributed to the death of Drew Ferraro.

Students carried flowers and dressed in black on Tuesday in remembrance of Drew Ferraro, a 15-year-old student who jumped from a building during lunchtime on Friday in what authorities have confirmed was a suicide. 

Community members worked all weekend to produce 7,000 Valentine's Day cards for CVHS students through the Have a Heart: Contagious LOVE for Crescenta Valley High School group, which was organized mainly through Facebook by Principal Cynthia Livingston. 

Students and parents met for an optional prayer at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday outside of school. They also gathered at in the quad at a memorial for the student. Inside the halls, each student had a note on their locker that read, "You are loved."

CVHS Principal Michele Doll made a public announcement for students at the beginning of school saying, "You are all my Falcons, and we care about you."

“It is going to be hard, and we will get through this together," Doll said.

Nearly 40 counselors and psychologists from Glendale Unified School District, and six counselors from Burbank Unified School District, are available for students to talk to throughout the week, Stephen Frasher of GUSD told Patch. 

students signed and brought a "LCHS <3 CVHS" banner, which was placed on the quad's rally platform, Frasher said. CVHS students signed their own memorial poster during break and lunch.

Grief counselors will be available for students at the Firehouse at 7 p.m. at 2563 Foothill Boulevard, near Rosemont Avenue, in La Crescenta, Mary O'Keefe of Prom Plus and Crescenta Valley Weekly told Patch. 

will host Joan Cochran, MFT and Executive Director of The Center for Grief and Loss for Children and Teens, part of the Hathaway Sycamores Child and Family Services, the largest Children and Teen agency in Los Angeles County, O'Keefe said. Cochrain will give a brief talk on "The Courage to Remember," followed by a question and answer session.

"Joan's primary goal is to enable adults and youth to come away with practical steps to apply to their lives as we, individually and as a community, move forward through the trauma and grief of processing the tragic events of last Friday," according to a prepared statement.

All Students and Parents Welcome

All students and parents are welcome to attend the Firehouse event, O'Keefe said. News media are not permitted, she added. 

Teachers, administrators and students are expected to attend Drew's funeral Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Tujunga, according to Crippens Mortuary. A private internment will follow. 

Prom Plus is collecting finger food with the Los Angeles Police Department--Drew's father serves as an LAPD police officer--for the funeral Wednesday and requests public donations, including trays of sandwiches and desserts for the reception following the funeral, according to Amy Hoag Jahnke on the open Have a Heart: Contagious LOVE for Crescenta Valley High School. Collections will happen from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Firehouse. 

Prom Plus will also collect gift cards from grocery stores and local restaurants for the family, Jahnke said. 

"We are asking people/organizations to place their donations in a signed card and drop them off at several locations we have arranged," according to a Prom Plus statement.

Those locations include: CV Weekly at 3800 La Crescenta Ave. #101 in La Crescenta; Frank's Famous Deli at 3315 North Verdugo Rd. in Glendale; Firehouse on Tuesdays from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. and Thursdays 7:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.; and CVHS, with Mr. Smiley who will collect school donations. 

"Prom Plus is keenly aware of how devastating a tragic loss of a child can be, we are also aware of how our community is able to pull together, support, and comfort each other," according to a Prom Plus statement. "We are working with LAPD, and family representatives to make certain we are not duplicating efforts. We also want to be sensitive to the family's needs."

"There's been a lot of student support which is great for students and staff here," Frasher said. 

Counselors on Campus

Students grieved on campus Tuesday in the library with counselors, in the quad with fellow students and inside the classrooms with teachers who asked students to share any emotions surrounding the campus suicide. Faculty stood by and remained with students during the school day. 

"Anyone who needs help, feels sad, we are here for them," Frasher said. 

Sheriff's officials continue an investigation and confirmed that notes were found, according to Sheriff's Lt. John Corina. 

“He did leave a suicide note, which gave a reason,” Lt. John Corina said. “[His suicide] had nothing to do with drugs, alcohol or bullying.”

CV student Olin Tellefsen told CBS News that Ferraro was a close friend. He described Ferraro as "a smart, witty kid who played football and loved heavy metal, concerts and his friends,'' the website states.  Tellefsen said Ferraro was taunted. He mentioned Ferraro was involved in a fight with several boys last year that upset him deeply, but he never expected this.

Glendale Unified School District Superintendent Richard Sheehan said repeatedly on Friday that officials have no indication that the boy's death is a result of bullying. Last week, the high school held a student assembly to address bullying and methods for coping, the News-Press reported

"I think they really have to dig into this, because it's not right and bullying is a factor," Mauricio Vinan, a CVHS parent and La Crescenta resident, told Patch.  

Drew's mother, who commented on Patch and is confirmed as his mother, stated that her son was bullied:

As Drews mother, he was a brilliant smart young man. He was loving and caring. Always ready to reach out to those who needed a hand. Our hearts are truly in pieces. There was bullying for the past year and he had the support of his family. I am sorry if you don't understand our [loss] and our wishes and healing prayers to those that witnessed his final moments.

Patrick Lee February 17, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Hi Lauren: Thanks for your comment. We are sensitive here at Patch to any issues involving youth and suicide, but our policy is not to cover individual suicides unless there are other extenuating factors. In the case of Drew Ferraro, this was a highly public event that took place at a school, involved law enforcement and may have had something to do with bullying, a matter of great public interest. A suicide such as Rashad Varma's, while undeniably sad and tragic, seems more a personal matter that doesn't rise to the level of public interest. Of course, if we are mistaken about Varma's situation and there are factors about the death that raise other issues, we're very interested in revisiting the case.
Annonymous February 17, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Bullying won't stop until parents and other adults stop making excuses for it. Kids can't always tell you why they bully someone - only that they "don't like" so and so. We need to hold the bar high for treating every person with respect and dignity and for including everyone. The practice of excluding some people, making some cool versus uncool, will continue the bullying atmosphere. The responsibility comes at every level - from parents to siblings to teachers to administrators. It's an uncomfortable and inconvenient truth.
Annonymous February 17, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Bullying won't stop until parents and other adults stop making excuses for it. Kids can't always tell you why they bully someone - only that they "don't like" so and so. We need to hold the bar high for treating every person with respect and dignity and for including everyone. The practice of excluding some people, making some cool versus uncool, will continue the bullying atmosphere. The responsibility comes at every level - from parents to siblings to teachers to administrators. It's an uncomfortable and inconvenient truth.
anon June 30, 2012 at 03:07 AM
From a reliable source I heard there was a note discovered in his pockets and in it, it is clear that it was not infact bullying that caused Drew's suicide. LAPD confirmed that bullying was not the main reason but the contents remain confidential and is probably related to family problems. I've also heard that he wasn't severely bullied at all. Mabye the family is dismissing the cause and saying it was due to bullying to avoid unnecessary conflicts. However, no one will ever know...
Chris Evans June 30, 2012 at 03:02 PM
As soon as you describe yourself as "anon", the entire concept of a "reliable source" goes down the drain .. this is rumor-mongering at its lowest form, and you are out of bounds by adding an element of alleged discord to a family already strapped with grief .. Shame on you, "anon"..

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