The flag at North Laurel High School flies at half staff.

The school library has been turned into a center where people could meet with grief counselors.

For the fourth time in little more than a year, the faculty, staff and students of North Laurel are dealing with tragedy following the apparent suicide of a freshman student Thursday night.

North Laurel Principal Jimmy Durham said he was told about the incident by local law enforcement Thursday. Durham said he contacted the student’s teachers soon after he learned of the incident, spoke with the entire faculty Friday morning and later spoke to the entire school about the loss.

“We have our counselors available to anyone who feels they need someone to talk to,” Durham said. “We also have counselors from other schools standing by in case they are needed.”

Durham called the student exemplary, adding that he was involved in a number of extracurricular activities and was well liked by his classmates and teachers.

Earlier this year, North Laurel was rocked by the news that alumnus Scarlett Parsley Hooker and Jonathan Hooker died in the August crash of Comair flight 5191. The newlyweds were killed the morning after their fairytale wedding in Lexington, Ky.

Toward the end of the 2005-06 school year, another North Laurel student took his own life.

On September 23, 2005, North Laurel students Jonna Begley and Kaitlyn Lawrence were killed in a car crash. During the World Chicken Festival parade the following week, the Marching Jaguars band carried red roses in place of their instruments as they marched in the parade. The two students, who were members of the dance team and cheerleading team, respectively were remembered at the football game on Sept. 30, 2005.

Durham, who is in his first year as principal, said in addition to the counselors from the school system, local pastors made themselves available as needed. As they have done in the past, Durham credited the faculty, staff and student body for pulling together under difficult circumstances.

North Laurel has approximately 1,300 students and 120 faculty and staff members, Durham said.

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