Miller Middle School notified families Tuesday that one of its students had died, and offered various support services through the week.
The student, who died by suicide late Monday or early Tuesday in Durango, was identified as 13-year-old Thomas “T.C.” Rockwell, said La Plata County Coroner Jann Smith.
The incident was reported about 9 a.m. Tuesday on Highland Hill Drive in Timberline View Estates near the Durango Sports Club on Florida Road. Rockwell lived with his mother, Kylie Caraher. His father is Myles Rockwell.
T.C. shot himself with a .22 caliber rifle, Smith said.
Caraher told authorities she was unaware of any weapons in the house, so it’s unknown where the gun came from, Smith said.
Miller Middle School Principal Cito Nuhn sent an email to parents.
“It is with great sadness that I inform you that one of our students passed away today,” the email reads. “The family is a part of the Miller community and we are all deeply affected by this news. We know you will join us in our concern and extend your sympathy for the family.”
The email goes on to say students and staff will react in different ways to the death of a student. A variety of emotions and responses might occur, and it’s important to be supportive and encourage open expression of feelings, Nuhn wrote.
“We recommend maintaining as normal a routine as possible,” he said. “This recommendation has evolved from the district’s experience with death in the past and the advice of mental health professionals from the community.”
Special counseling services will be made available to students and staff this week, and will continue to be available longer if needed, Nuhn said. This includes counseling support Wednesday morning for any parents or students who might need it.
Anyone who thinks their child needs additional counseling support should contact school counselors, Sarah St. John, Marcia Hoerl or Ian Lennox at 247-1418.
The district also will hold a special grief-counseling service with community partners from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Miller Middle School, 2608 Junction St., for any families that need the support.
“Any parents, community members, students, anybody in the community who needs some additional support is welcome to attend,” said Julie Popp, spokeswoman for the school district.