Student sets himself on fire at Standley Lake High School

Photo by Ashley Reimers
Although classes were cancelled, students were allowed back into Standley Lake High School on Tuesday to grab belongings or to seek counseling after a student lit himself on fire Monday morning in the cafeteria. Classes, school activities and athletics resumed on Wednesday.

An apparent suicide attempt at Standley Lake High School left one student severely burned and in critical condition.

The 16-year-old male student entered the school cafeteria early Monday morning and set himself on fire. His name is not being published by Colorado Community Media because he is under 18 years of age.

The student was transported to an area hospital after a male custodian used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire.

Investigator Cheri Spottke said no other students were harmed, but one female employee did suffer a minor laceration during the incident.

Seniors Shaylene Kole and Shannon Heer didn’t know the student personally and were in class during the incident, but agreed the news of the suicide attempt was frightening and shocking.

Kole said she immediately burst into tears when she found out.

“It’s really sad and scary,” Kole said.

“It’s been tough to deal with. It’s a little nerve-racking going back to class.”

Classes were cancelled for the remainder of the day Monday, as well as for the following day. Students were able to pick up any belongings from the school Tuesday or to seek counseling following the incident. Police investigators searched the school with dogs room-by-room to ensure the safety of school and confirmed that no other devices were left in the school.

Spottke said investigators are speaking with family members, students and faculty to try and figure out the cause of the incident and to also ensure nothing was missed behind the scenes. She said police are investigating a suicide note, which will not be released to the public.

“Right now everything leans towards a suicide attempt, unless something takes us into a completely different direction,” she said.

According to fire officials, the student suffered burns to 80 percent of his body. The fire didn’t cause much damage to the building, although smoke did fill the area.

Spottke said an incident like this one is truly shocking.

“We never want this to happen at any school, especially one in our community,” she said. “It’s difficult. School should be a place for learning and a safe place, not a place where students have to deal with something like this for the rest of their lives.”

The Jefferson Center for Mental Health is offering mental health services through a 24-hour service at 303-425-0300 for any student or adult in need of counseling.

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