Streetsboro Officials Hope Others Learn from Teen's Suicide

Photo: Courtesy Streetsboro City Schools and Police Department

(Streetsboro) - You may have heard by now about how Streetsboro High School senior James Wood took his own life last week. Now, his family and others are hoping others can learn by this. The following statement was released jointly by Streetsboro's school superintendent and chief of police:

November 22, 2022

Dear Parents/Guardians,

First and foremost, the Streetsboro community’s heartfelt sympathies go out to senior James Woods’ family and friends during this difficult time. Following his tragic passing, new information has come to light that Tamia and Timothy Woods, James’ parents, have made clear needs to be shared with the Streetsboro community. Both Patricia Wain, Police Chief, Streetsboro Police Department, and I agree that the information must be shared and appreciate their courage and their willingness to share the information surrounding James’ death so that others can be helped.

James’ cause of death in this tragedy was by suicide. Suicide is a complicated act with a variety of causes. When discussing this with your family, it is important to discourage talk about how the suicide happened and focus on how your child feels. Each person copes with grief differently; the most important thing is to promote healthy conversations with your children during this difficult time. The Woods family, through their incredible strength, “wants to ensure that this does not happen to other families. Please talk to your children and make sure you know what is going on with them.” Our greatest fear at this point is that our community suffers another tragedy. Sadly, that is something that is not uncommon in a phenomenon known as suicide contagion. James’ suicide was the result of a heartbreaking epidemic known as “sextortion.”

Sextortion is an online crime that happens when an adult poses as a same-aged peer to convince a victim to share sexual pictures or perform sexual acts on camera. Our School District has been made aware that not only was James a victim of sextortion, but more of our students are being targeted. Sextortion is typically performed by people unknown by the students, and oftentimes by people living overseas who are virtually untraceable. Sextortion is a nationwide epidemic, with suicide unfortunately being the end result in multiple instances. If your child has been a victim, please contact the Streetsboro PD at (330) 626-4976 or your local police agency and screenshot any information or images still remaining on the phone.

Despite the grief taking place, the Woods family was very clear in their message that they wanted to communicate: “Educate! We want to educate families about sextortion, and we want to encourage all families to make sure they are checking their kids’ social media accounts and making sure they are staying safe!” In light of this information, and at the request of the family, Streetsboro City Schools and Streetsboro PD will be working collaboratively to create educational opportunities for Streetsboro parents and students about not only sextortion, but other mental health topics pertinent to raising a child in today’s world.

Below, please find a number of additional resources to provide more education about the information discussed above. We want to ensure our Streetsboro community is given every opportunity to grieve appropriately, educate themselves, and ensure we can spend time with our loved ones in a safe and healthy manner this holiday season.

Crisis Text Line

Mental Health Resources & Supports Sextortion Information:

What Parents and Kids/Teen's Need to Know from the FBI

Sextortion: What Families Should Know

Suicide Contagion

Sincerely, with the support of the Woods family,

Mike Daulbaugh, Superintendent, Streetsboro City Schools
Patricia Wain, Police Chief, Streetsboro PD

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