Valley high schools are grappling with rising teen suicide rates. But a Chandler girl said administration at one school turned its back on her after she reached out for help. She had to take a leave of absence to get treatment for mental health. When she tried to re-enroll, she said she was denied.
Chloe Patel should be a junior at Chandler High School. Her family lives outside the boundary, and even though she earned academic awards prior to her treatment, after returning, she said she was no longer welcome.
“Chloe is exceptionally bright, she’s musically talented,” said Donna Patel, Chloe’s mother. She said her daughter was always a straight-A student. But she struggles with depression, and Donna said it became too much to bear last fall.
“While we were waiting for the psychiatry appointment, she had her first hospitalization for suicide ideation,” Donna said.
Chloe said she was hospitalized three times, and her grades slipped.
“Having all the schoolwork on top of trying to exist was too hard for me,” Chloe said. Her counselor at Chandler High suggested she withdraw and re-enroll next year. The problem is that they live across the street from the school’s boundary. Donna said she had to fill out an exception form, which had been approved for Chloe’s freshman and sophomore years.
”The district sent me a letter saying we had been denied because of they said too many absences and poor grades,” Donna said. She said they tried writing to the principal, but he stood by the district’s decision, saying they can try again next year.
“Her not going back was kind of a kick to the gut,” Donna said. Chloe said her support system is at Chandler High. She tried to go to a closer school, but the anxiety of the new environment did not help her recovery. She recently passed the GED and is taking community college courses. She plans on taking the ACTs, and enrolling in a university next fall.
“I think it’s wrong to say you care for your students and say they should reach out for help if you’re not going to accept the students who need it the most,” Chloe said.
“We could’ve used the school’s support,” Donna said.
The district sent us the following statement:We cannot legally discuss situation due to federal privacy guidelines (FERPA).Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.
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