To the Editor:

Last week, a student at the Kent School tragically took her own life.

In December, in a brave speech to her school community, she announced that she was transgender and had been suffering from significant depression.

Always known for her smile, a lightning fast wit, and for lighting up a room with her musical talent and good humor, she asked us all to seek to understand what is really going on inside of one another since what is happening under the surface may not match the appearance.

Forty percent of transgender kids attempt suicide.

That is a large but impersonal statistic, until it happens.

The Kent School community, both the administration and the student body, was by all accounts highly supportive of this student who everyone knew and loved.

But can more be done? Can we all do more?

As a former Board of Education member and as a mother involved in our local homeschooling community, I believe that we can.

I would ask that our public, private, and alternative schools work harder to set up rigorous and pro-active support systems for our LGBT teens and children.

If you work with teens, please keep an eye out for kids who are struggling or suffering from depression.

At a time like this, when we ask, “Could we have done more?," the true answer for us all, particularly as a society, is sadly probably yes.

Let us first remove any stigma around revealing or discussing depression and LGBT issues by and with teens.

The silence around both depression and LGBT issues must be abolished as the necessary first step in saving lives.

And then we as individuals, as institutions, and as a community, need to do more, much more. The lives of some truly wonderful young people are at stake.

Kelly Lott