SOUTHGATE, Mich. - More than 400 students, family and friends crowded around Southgate Anderson High school Thursday night in honor of 13-year-old Tyler Nichols.
The Davidson Middle School student shot and killed himself in a school bathroom earlier in the day.
The mourners did a lap around the school to honor Tyler before gathering on the front lawn of the high school for a prayer. Soon after the prayer was complete, Amber Sorich, Nichols' sister, came forward to thank everyone for showing their support.
"I just want to thank everyone for supporting us and being there for us during this tragedy," Sorich told the crowd.
The entire education community in Southgate is heartsick over what has happened. Fellow middle school students can't understand why Nichols felt so isolated and so depressed.
"Like I was stunned by the outcome of it. What made him think to do it at school?" said 14-year-old Shelby Ralls, who knew Nichols.
Overwhelming sadness is permeating her thoughts along with so many others. Depression is something these teens and pre-teens have heard about but never expected to live through at this stage of their lives.
Their final act Thursday night was to release balloons into the sky, hoping Tyler would see them in heaven.
School leaders plan to make changes
The Southgate superintendent says changes will be made immediately. Teachers will search backpacks. Student will have to carry books outside of a bag. Wearing bulky clothes is banned.
Schools across the area are making some of the same changes in hopes of avoiding another young life getting taken away too soon.
Anybody who feels depressed or needs someone to talk to is encouraged to seek help. There are hotlines that people can call if they need someone to talk to.
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