Mason students may be disciplined by district for parody suicide video

Three Mason High School students are being sharply criticized by school officials for making a social media video depicting them joking about suicide by hanging.

The three girls from the Warren County high school who filmed the video were unaware their post on social media was around the time a female sophomore at the school had killed herself off campus, according to district officials.

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“Horrible judgment and terrible timing,” said Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for Mason City Schools. “Suicide is never a joking matter and is something that has caused such pain in our community.”

The girls were in a local department store’s bathroom when they filmed the suicide parody as they pretended to hang themselves with toilet paper. Their video mimics another social media video from outside the region that went viral showing a teenage girl doing the same thing as an attempt at humor.

In a message sent recently to Mason Schools families, district officials wrote: “It is important to take any threat or talk about suicide seriously. Start by telling the person that you are concerned. Don’t be afraid to ask whether she or he is considering suicide or has a plan or method in mind. Resist the temptation to argue the person out of suicide by saying, ‘You have so much to live for’ or ‘Your suicide will hurt your family and friends.’ Instead, seek professional help.”

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Carson told this news outlet that while the girls’ actions took place off of campus, students whose social media posts negatively impact the school community can face disciplinary action by the district.

The 10,000-student Mason City Schools has had five student suicides in the past seven years, according to district officials.

“One suicide is too many, and we continue to search for ways to prevent teen suicide in Mason,” Carson said.

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