String of Suicides Devastate Queen Creek High School
With the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida, school security and the safety of our students is escalating as a matter of grave concern among fellow students, parents, and lawmakers.
Arizona was struck by another kind of school tragedy on Tuesday, when a Queen Creek High School student took his life, the fifth suicide in that school in less than a year. At least 10 students in the East Valley have taken their own lives since May 2017.
Now, students and parents are saying it’s an epidemic, and that enough is enough.
“We have a major crisis on our hands. We truly are in an epidemic with losing our kids,” said Christina Nguyen, head of Project Connect 4, a group formed in the wake of a rising child suicide rate in Arizona.
So far no one has been able to identify a common factor, no answer for the “why” at Queen Creek, or anywhere around the state.
The Problem is BIGGER Than You May Think.
Data reported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention ranks suicide as the #1 cause of death for people ages 10-14 and the second leading cause of death for those 15-34.
An Arizona Department of Health Services report for 2015 recorded 10 suicides by children 14 or younger and 60 by those 15 to 19.
Mental health experts and school district personnel are trying to combat the problem with student screening and suicide prevention education. But many educators and counselors realize the problem is much bigger: fatherlessness, lack of a support system, and according to a new 2018 Barna report an upward trend of more and more young people without the hope of faith in Jesus Christ.
“Atheism is on the rise in Gen Z,” says the Barna Report. “The percentage of teens who identify as atheist is double that of the general population. Today’s teens are less Christian and more confused about moral and spiritual truth than ever”.
The God Factor
Sometimes when we listen to the news and hear devastating reports like these, we feel overwhelmed. We say, “What can one person, one church do? ”
But we must not forget that as believers we are carriers of the presence and power of God, and that through prayer and reaching out with the love of Jesus Christ we have influence to change the spiritual atmosphere in our neighborhoods and cities, including our schools.
During a season of serving as the legal and spiritual covering for Eleven11, the school prayer initiative that mobilized 26 hours of non-stop prayer in Arizona high schools, our team saw suicides and drug overdoes go down and academic scores go up. The results were quantifiable and measurable. We know God can do it again!
Arizona School Prayer Watch: Will You Serve, Watch, and Pray?
BridgeBuilders is looking for area coordinators who will mobilize churches and individuals to set a prayer watch and serve in Arizona schools.
The goal is to prayer walk or prayer drive every school’s perimeter and to pray for neighborhood schools from our homes and churches. But for results to be sustainable and long lasting, what we’ve discovered is that our prayers must be ongoing and also partnered with service, (volunteering, tutoring, mentoring, providing tangible needs).
An effective model that BridgeBuilders established in Cottonwood, AZ is the “Serve, Watch, and Pray” program. In collaboration with Emmanuel Fellowship, Mingus Union High School, and spearheaded by former Mingus student Mike Worden, we trained church members to serve on the school campus as volunteers, tutors, and mentors.
Everyone was taught to follow school policies and procedures, while being empowered to pray silently behind the scenes. We literally saw the spiritual atmosphere shift from one of hopelessness and death to faith and life.
Please contact us today and let us know that you would like to serve as a champion for the Arizona School Prayer Watch in your neighborhood or area of the state.
Queen Creek High School is in crisis right now, so if you live in Queen Creek, please respond!
Contact us at info@bridgeBuilders.net.
- Lord, we invite YOUR holy presence and power into Queen Creek High School this day. Shine YOUR light upon the school and dispel all darkness.
- We declare, according to YOUR word in Matthew 10:26, that “there is nothing covered that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be made known”.
- By the authority we have in Jesus’ name, we break all enemy aggression and every demonic assignment against Queen Creek High School and over the lives of its students.
- We command spirits of death, suicide, depression, oppression, and hopelessness to be broken off the students and to depart from their homes and from their school, in Jesus’ Name.
- For those students on the verge of taking their own lives or harming themselves, we ask YOU, Lord, to send someone to reach out with love, help, prayer, and concern. Let not one vulnerable student be forgotten or go unnoticed.
- Heavenly Father and Creator of All Life, breathe YOUR life into every student at Queen Creek High School! Saturate the classrooms and hallways with a spirit of hope, purpose, destiny, and victorious living (see Jeremiah 29:11).
- We cry out to YOU for a student revival at Queen Creek High School. Lord, open up the way for the gospel be shared freely, and by YOUR Spirit, draw every student’s heart to YOU.
- Heavenly Father, raise up YOUR Church in Arizona to set a watch over our schools: serving faithfully, watching intently, and praying fervently.
- “Atheism Doubles Among Generation Z,” Research Releases in Millennials & Generations, January 24, 2018.
- Jim Walsh, “7 EV teen suicides in 6 weeks alarm schools,” Tribune, Queen Creek, Ariz., September 24, 2017.
- Jonathan Morrow, “Only 4 Percent of Gen Z Have a Biblical Worldview,” New 2018 Barna and Impact 360 Institute Research.
- “Parents & students call for change after 5th student from Queen Creek commits suicide,” 3TV/CBS 5, February 28, 2018.
- “String of suicides devastate Queen Creek High School,” KSAZ, Queen Creek, Ariz., February 27, 2018.