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Body found at Lowell Elementary by students, staff

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Emergency responders walk away from the area where a group of Lowell Elementary School students and teachers discovered a deceased individual in the woods near the school Friday morning in Duluth. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)
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Parents of students at Lowell Elementary School were notified Friday morning that a group of students and teachers discovered a deceased individual in the woods near the school.

The automated phone call received by parents said "the teacher immediately took the students back to school" and called the police. It also told parents that mental health professionals were being brought in to provide assistance and support to adults and children.

Police chaplains and Duluth school district social workers were on site Friday morning. Social workers will continue to be available next week for students who need them.

Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken confirmed to the News Tribune that the students were told the body was a Halloween decoration by a teacher. A meeting for parents was held Friday morning.

Superintendent Bill Gronseth said he was thankful for the Duluth Police Department's quick response as well as how quickly the staff at Lowell came together to give support not only to the students, but also to their families.

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Duluth Police Department information officer Ingrid Hornibrook said the preliminary indications are that the incident was a suicide. It is an open and active investigation.

Resources for parents

  • Northland Children's Mental Health Collaborative: northlandchildrensmentalhealth.org
  • Psychiatric Assistance Line: 855-431-6468
  • Birch Tree Center Mobile Crisis Unit: 218-623-1800
  • Emergencies: 911

To get help

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

  • Crisis Text Line: Text MN to 741741

  • South St. Louis, Lake, Cook and Carlton counties/Fond du Lac Band: 218-623-1800 or 844-772-4742

  • North St. Louis County/Bois Forte Band: 218-288-2100

  • Itasca County: 218-326-8565 or 211*

  • Koochiching County: 800-442-8565 or 211*

*St. Louis County 211 services are not crisis-related

Related Topics: LOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Adelle Whitefoot is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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