19-year-old Parkland School Shooting Survivor Dies by Suicide

Andres Rincon

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On March 17, Sydney Aiello, a Parkland shooting survivor, died of an apparent suicide. According to the Broward County Examiner’s Office, Aiello died from a gunshot wound to the head.  Aiello was a recent graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) and studying at Florida Atlantic University.


“The kids need help, and many of them that do need help are not getting any,” asserts history teacher Greg Pittman from MSD demonstrating the need for mental health awareness.


Aiello was one of many that witnessed the horrors of the Parkland shooting where seventeen people — 14 students and three staff– members were killed on February 14. Ever since, these survivors have been mourning the passing of these seventeen victims, and amongst the victims was Meadow Pollack, Aiello’s best friend. Since the shooting, Aiello had suffered from survivor’s guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


“Sydney struggled to attend college classes because she was afraid of being in a classroom and was often sad recently but never asked for help before she killed herself,” says Cara Aiello– her mother.


Since the Parkland shooting, various rallies for gun reform have taken place, most notably the March for Our Lives, and there have been many changes in local communities. The recent suicide has caused many parents to be more involved in their children’s mental health and how to cope with trauma. For instance, since the death of Alaina Petty,a victim of the Parkland shooting,  her father Ryan Petty has started a nonprofit focused primarily on the improvement of the security and safety of schools and also involved with other activities like the Miami Jackson Suicide Prevention Forum and the Summer Suicide Prevention Forum. Parents have been informed about the  Columbia protocol as a way to prevent further suicides. Students have also been educated about the importance of peer-to-peer communication as many prefer to talk to friends rather than their family members about what they are feeling.  


“[It] breaks my heart that we’ve lost yet another student from Stoneman Douglas,”said Ryan Petty.

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If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, here’s how to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.