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Story - News

Oct 1, 2012 1:05 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton School District Responds To Student's Death

Oct 3, 2012 12:17 PM

This week the East Hampton High School community was mourning the loss of David H. Hernandez, a 16-year-old junior, of East Hampton on Saturday, apparently by his own hand.

A bake sale at the high school on Tuesday raised $4,400 for funeral costs. Visiting was to be at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton on Tuesday evening, with a funeral Mass scheduled for 10 a.m. on Wednesday at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton. Burial will be private, according to the funeral home.

On Tuesday, East Hampton Town Police Detective Lieutenant Chis Anderson said he could not confirm that the boy’s death was a suicide. Police were called to Wooded Oak Lane at 9:22 p.m. on Saturday “by an occupant of the home” to respond to a report of “an unconscious and unresponsive male,” Det. Lt. Anderson said. The body was removed to the Suffolk 
County Medical Examiner’s Office and the investigation is continuing, he said. “It’s just a bad situation all around,” the detective said.

On Tuesday, counselors from Joe’s Project, which provides support for those who have lost someone to suicide, met with students at East Hampton High School. Approximately 91 students visited the auditorium to meet with the counselors, according to an email Principal Adam Fine sent out to members of the school community on Tuesday.

The internet was alive with rumors that the teenager’s death was the result of 
bullying at school, but that was not confirmed by police, and it was strenuously denied by school officials and 
others who insisted that the district takes bullying very 
seriously but could not speak to particulars on the record, in large part to protect the boy’s privacy.

“A bucket of cold water should be thrown on it,” said one person of the rumor.

Joel Johnson, a student at the high school who heads the Gay-Straight Alliance, confirmed that David had attended a meeting of the group last week. “He seemed nice,” Joel said on Tuesday, explaining that it was David’s first time attending the group, which has about 45 members, both gay and straight.

Last year the high school formed a justice league after a varsity soccer team photo was defaced with swastikas and derogatory comments. The league is composed of students who mediate cases of bullying and discrimination.

“We are truly saddened by this tragic event and extend our deepest condolences to his family during this very difficult time,” School District Superintendent Richard Burns said in a statement posted on the school district’s website late Monday morning.

The boy’s family could not immediately be reached early this week.

Mr. Fine had sent out a group email on Monday asking recipients to contact the administration if they knew of any students who might need support. “Please remember ‘You always have people who care about you here at the high school,’” said a statement he read to students on Monday. “Do not hesitate to reach out if you need to speak to anyone. Please let your classroom teacher know or any adult in the building if you feel you need to talk to anyone.”

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By ShadyGrady (7), East Hampton on Oct 1, 12 1:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
Where does this story say anything about "bullying?"

Or is this hometown gossip-mongering?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Oct 1, 12 3:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
You think the school authorities are going to publicly acknowledge that one of their 15 year old students hung himself Saturday rather then go back to school today and face more bullying?? If true, there is something very wrong on Long Lane in East Hampton.
By BruceB (142), Sag Harbor on Oct 1, 12 4:59 PM
May I recommend, Mr. Wheeler, that you take a good long look in the mirror, and some deep deep breaths?

Condolences to the family for their loss.

Have a good evening.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 1, 12 6:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Leave Frank alone on this one. It's confusing and disturbing to read a story like this and have no idea what happened especially when you read comments like these.
By Q333 (161), Southampton on Oct 1, 12 6:33 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By voiceofreason (9), southampton on Oct 1, 12 7:16 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By voiceofreason (9), southampton on Oct 1, 12 7:17 PM
Okay first of all, i just graduated from east hampton high school this past june and let me tell you they do their very best to help every student, i know because before i left i joined the justice league, we as the justice league went to every- i mean EVERY- class and presented the movie "Bully" to attempt to get more support to stop bulling. This organization was created in east hampton high school and approved by Mr.Fine our wonderful principal. There is just so much we can do as a high school ...more
By Cole.Brauer731 (1), East Hampton on Oct 2, 12 4:04 PM
That poor poor family.
By traffic (26), Southampton on Oct 1, 12 2:30 PM
2 members liked this comment
God Bless you David...
I'm so very sorry for the pain his family must be feeling.
He will be in my prayers.
By marybmary (54), east hampton on Oct 1, 12 3:14 PM
2 members liked this comment
This article was written tactfully and respectfully. Out of respect for David and his family, let it go Frank Wheeler. The loss of this beautiful young man is the story here--and there is no place here for your sarcastic comment.
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on Oct 1, 12 5:08 PM
The article left out many important details, more information leads to more informed responses .
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Oct 1, 12 8:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
How about some R-E-S-P-E-C-T for all directly involved, and y'all shut your yappers in regard to any yearning for the "details".

They aren't necessary now. They will be made available in a respectable amount of time to allow grief to take it's course in the short term. If not, then even I'll condone any ballyhoo about the "details".

There's enough pain and grief to go around, without it being multiplied by lurid detail in a local periodical.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 1, 12 8:52 PM

There was NO "sarcastic comment!" None was intended.

Apparently, even though no information about the death of this young man was published anywhere, it seems that a great many people out east know unreleased details.

That would come under the heading of "gossip."
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Oct 2, 12 1:44 AM
1 member liked this comment
I had no foul language in my post in reply to Mr Wheeler. I didn't realize that id..ot is now a four letter word. I'm with Mrs. Sea....adding that his lack of compassion concerning this loss of young life is simple ignorance. My heart goes out to the parents and family.
By voiceofreason (9), southampton on Oct 2, 12 6:16 PM
Your comment was a direct insult and inappropriate, it is not necessary to curse here to be deleted.

And look at the update. "The internet was alive with rumors that the teenager’s death was the result of 
bullying at school, but that was not confirmed by police" Frank was right. It was the first comment that started this relay.
By Q333 (161), Southampton on Oct 2, 12 8:46 PM
ditto to PBRs comment above. As frank's #1 cheerleader, you might want to teach him some empathy. He just doesn't get it. God Bless this poor by's family..that's all that matters in a story such as this.
By voiceofreason (9), southampton on Oct 3, 12 1:27 PM
Deepest sympathy to the family on this tragic loss. So very, very sad!
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Oct 1, 12 5:53 PM
Frank go back under the rock you crawled out from under. You are a pittiful man.

Condolences to the family of Mr. Barros
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Oct 1, 12 6:38 PM
1 member liked this comment
His question was perfectly reasonable within the context of the article.

Take your hypersensitivity elsewhere, no one is obligated to tiptoe around your emotions.
By RealityFirst (597), Bridgehampton on Oct 1, 12 7:09 PM
It's called reading between the lines RF.

The article is tactful, and written well enough to garner that this was no ordinary passing. An eigth grader could put two, and two together. I think you need to read between the lines, but talk to the hand...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 1, 12 7:23 PM
1 member liked this comment
The first comment (not the article) suggested bullying, and the poster's few comments, and location, it appears that he/she knew what really happened.

Mr. Wheeler's comment two hours later was a cheap shot IMO, and incredibly insensitive at the time.

Time will tell, but sometimes it is best to wait for the details to unfold, than to challenge the first post with a uninformed question.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 1, 12 7:46 PM
In other words, did Mr. Wheeler know for sure that there was NO bullying involved? One thought not.

In which case silence might have been golden?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 1, 12 7:48 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Oct 2, 12 1:59 AM
Bullying is not just prevalent at the pre-teen level. My son was bullied on a daily basis at his preschool, Bright Beginnings. He began to show signs of physical ailments attributed to the emotional stress. The school’s Administrator responded by isolating my son from his classmates the following term, while allowing the aggressor child to remain in the class. Needless to say, we removed him from the school and the abusive situation. It appears that the channels of communication in the ...more
By theprogram (37), east quogue on Oct 1, 12 8:22 PM
4 members liked this comment
The same thing happened years ago with my daughter in the oh-so-perfect Quogue school. When I brought it to the Italian-suited, sports car- driving Principal's attention, he said, "the teachers didn't see it"!! And, like you, she was out of there and in the fantastic East Quogue school district where there is a zero tolerance for bullying policy the very next day. Of course, they can't prevent it entirely, but at least they take it very seriously. This was many years ago when I was in that district ...more
By voiceofreason (9), southampton on Oct 2, 12 6:27 PM
2 members liked this comment
My condolences and prayers to David Barros and his family and friends.

I praise the sensitivity of the article. When one looses a loved one suddenly and tragically to suicide, the emotions that this generates are indescribable.Sadness, anger, powerlessness, shame, guilt to name a few. There is a very strong desire to shield the circumstances of the deceased person's death both for them and for the family to preserve their dignity. It is also true that in certain faith's suicide is viewed ...more
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Oct 1, 12 10:09 PM
1 member liked this comment
I think silence might have been golden from the press as well. If your not going to tell the story than just dont tell the story! Why drive people crazy with not telling a story.
By They call me (2826), southampton on Oct 2, 12 12:32 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 2, 12 7:35 AM
Lust, is now a "four letter word".

You only drive yourself crazy with the longing for information that frankly doesn't need to be made public right now. Given time, I'm sure you will be satisfied.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Oct 2, 12 5:57 PM
Our prayers go out to the family, as they prepare for services this evening and tomorrow.

So sorry for your loss.

Rest in Peace.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 2, 12 6:22 AM
Rest in peace David. The circumstances surrounding his death are really none of our business. The GOSSIP and ASSUMING are crap. The important thing is to now reach out and help his family, and all of his teenage friends who are probably completely confused and need love and support. This is probably one of their first experiences with death, and most importantly, probably one of their first experiences with the death of a peer. It's confusing enough going through the process when an adult passes ...more
By honeylamb (71), East Quogue on Oct 2, 12 6:43 AM
Whatever the circumstances, this is a very sad story. My condolences to David's family and friends. What this world needs is love! Love thy neighbor as thy self!
By beachbag50 (18), East Hampton on Oct 2, 12 7:08 AM
It is always heartbreaking to hear of the death of a child. May his family and friends find peace.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Oct 2, 12 8:20 AM
Even as a child I use to see bullys, and wonder why thier parents never stopped them. You really can't blame the teachers this is something that comes from the disfunction of the home. If this child really killed himself in the year 2012 because of bullying we as a country should all be ashamed. This society puts more importance on Facebook and their Iphone then taking care of children and their needs. Very sad for his family and his friends and our community
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Oct 2, 12 8:47 AM
Bullying needs to be nipped in the bud. Its not about raising a "cool kid"..its about raising a caring, compassionate human being.
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Oct 3, 12 7:41 AM
Like others here I too am saddened to hear of such a tragic loss of life, whatever the circumstances that caused it. However, I must also respect Mr Wheeler's question regarding the cause being bullying. Although I no longer live in East Hampton I am still friends with many people who do and have seen many posts on Facebook regarding bullying but no actual statements from anyone close to Mr. Hernandez indacting the existance of bullying or the nature of the alledged bullying. I would like to believe ...more
By Rich Morey (378), Brooklyn on Oct 3, 12 8:14 AM
The article was updated today just after noon, adding additional details.

Rest in Peace.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 3, 12 2:31 PM
I wish they would do outreach before and not after a child kill himself .......the school knows many things that goes on in the schools but they do not act to do positive changes before a suicide or one child running after another with a chain saw ...remember that case??????? :(
And the Southampton School showing anti immigrants films or dismantling the ESL Department :(

By Bel (86), southampton on Oct 3, 12 3:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
I think the point of this story was to highlight the student communities response to this tragedy. While we have a right to express our opinions, we should take a moment to think before we type...is what I'm saying going to help or harm? Is it a time to get on the soap box, or is it a time to show some empathy for your fellow man in their time of sorrow. My sympathies go out to this young mans family.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Oct 3, 12 6:52 PM
1 member liked this comment
I would recommend you all read the lead Letter to the Editor published in today's edition of The East Hampton Star, which provides "no holds barred" answers to many of your questions about this tragic event. My condolences to David's family and friends. David Buda
By davbud (127), east hampton on Oct 4, 12 11:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
The referenced letter is the first one in the Star, and the lead editorial there this week is on this topic. Previous comments here (questioning the bullying allegations) seem especially hollow today, do they not?

Rest in Peace.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 4, 12 12:42 PM
If half of what is that letter is true, then something needs to be looked at very seriously at the High School. Very powerful. May the family be strong.
By Yesouthh (21), water mill on Oct 4, 12 9:30 PM
A new article announces a Town Meeting on October 22nd.

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 9, 12 7:21 PM
The Star has a new article out, and it does not paint a pretty picture.

In light of the mother's allegations, it would seem appropriate for East Hampton High School to set the record straight on this, in my personal opinion.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 11, 12 1:56 PM
I realize the Mother is hurting but the article says, "Carmita Barros, who claims the school administration ignored what was happening because David was an immigrant Latino."

Followed by the sister's statement that she "experienced first-hand the brutality of bullying when she arrived at East Hampton High. She said the persecution, mostly by fellow Latinos — including Ecuadoreans" and then, “a group of Spanish kids threw his sandwich on the floor” and finally, “Most ...more
By Q333 (161), Southampton on Oct 11, 12 2:40 PM
There is a new detailed article in the same EH weekly.

The plot thickens . . .

Rest in Peace, David.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Oct 18, 12 3:01 PM