Students and teachers at Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth are coping with a pair of tragedies. Just before spring break, junior Jocelyn Saucedo was fatally stabbed. And last week, a cheerleader and her boyfriend were among the two dozen injured in Austin when a car plowed into a crowd at the South by Southwest festival.
The halls at Trimble Tech were bustling Monday, with students happy to see each other again after spring break. But behind the smiles is heartbreak.
"I saw her Friday, that same day she died," said sophomore Kiara Prelow, a friend of Jocelyn. "It happened so fast. Like, wow, I just saw her, and then I got a phone call saying she died. It’s so unreal."
Jocelyn was stabbed to death on March 7. Luis Torres, 20, was arrested after the incident.
"She did not deserve that," Kiara said. "She was always positive, smiling. She always said, 'Hey Prelow! Hey Prelow!' Her personality was out of this world."
Students said they learned about Jocelyn's death, and the injuries in Austin to 17-year-old Curtisha Davis and her boyfriend, 18-year-old Trimble graduate Deandre Tatum, through social media.
"It was on Facebook," said Taraysha Woods. "It was on Instagram. That's how I found out."
Taraysha didn’t know Jocelyn. But she does know Curtisha, the teen hospitalized after a driver crashed into a crowd at South by Southwest, killing three.
"It was sad because it could have been anybody," she said. "And I just thank god it wasn’t me or anybody I was close to."
Hard For Everyone
Senior Marissa Edwards said it’s hard for everyone at Trimble Tech.
“My teacher, she’s always in a happy mood, laughing," she said. "And then I come back and she’s all sad and crying. That really, like made me sad.”
The Fort Worth school district had at least 20 mental health specialists available to help faculty and students, says Kathryn Everest, director of guidance and counseling.
"If we can get them back to a cognitive place," she said, "they go to class, and then if another hour later, they’re in a bad way again, they can come back to the safe room."
That room is inside the school’s counseling center. It's filled with water bottles, apples, oranges and other healthy snacks.
"They can go and sit and be quiet," Everest says. "They can sit and talk to each other. They can talk to an adult, who’s clinically trained."
Teachers, counselors and professional observers watch for symptoms of depression, like not eating.
"Or eating too much," Everest said. "Not sleeping. Sleeping in class…inability to focus and concentrate."
On campus, is another room where students voluntarily visit, occupied by Reverend Kyev Tatum, who is also president of the school’s alumni association. He says the teenagers who share their feelings, aren’t revealing everything.
"They’re only telling you about the immediate trauma that they’ve just experienced," he said. "What we don't hear is how does this impact everything else that’s going on in your life."
Reverend Tatum says school officials need to learn more about the personal lives of every student.
“I think we need to look at their home life," Tatum said. "What's happening at home. There needs to be a psychological exam, an aptitude exam, so that we know where they are, and what we’re dealing with."
For the rest of this week, support staff will continue to be available for students and adults at Trimble Tech. Cheerleader Curtisha Davis is expected to leave the hospital in the next few days. But Deandre Tatum is still in a medically induced coma.