An Important Message from Dr. Perry to our School Community

This message was sent to all South Colonie parents/guardians today, May 7 at 3:40 p.m. (Please note CCHS families received a separate communication from Principal Kachadurian this afternoon).

South Colonie School District Families,

As we communicated on Wednesday, May 5, our school district continues to share and process the recent loss of CCHS sophomore Hunter Hanley.  As a district, we are joined together to express sadness and emotion when our school community experiences the loss of someone close to us. It’s a scenario that our district families, students and faculty never want to consider and we are committed to understanding and processing that grief during this difficult time. With the permission of the family, we want to inform you that the cause of death was a suicide.

We know this is a difficult time for our school community and the loss of someone to suicide is incredibly painful to process. As a district, we are here to assist by providing the necessary social and emotional support resources, along with additional tools and outreach assistance for students, families and staff. We understand there are questions and concerns related to someone who has died by suicide. Please know that assistance can and will be provided to our school community, especially our students. 

We are not alone in dealing with the pain, confusion and fear when suicide occurs. We ask that you review the support initiatives provided below and please don’t hesitate to ask the necessary questions in order to cope with this tragic loss.

In addition, we remind everyone about the importance of avoiding speculation on social media and otherwise, as this can only lead to more inaccurate information and contribute to the difficulty for those most affected. Similarly, we ask our whole community to be sensitive to the family’s privacy as well as the fact that even well-intentioned reaching out can be overwhelming for a family dealing with tragedy.

To that end, we are providing the following support resources and counseling information for our community to review during this difficult time. We ask that district students and families consider utilizing these critical resources and seek help if they are struggling. Together we can learn, process our concerns, while sharing empathy with our fellow community members.

Counseling support for students, families and faculty

The loss of a student is a difficult and challenging situation that can generate a high level of anxiety and stress. During this time, as the school community processes this tragic news and copes with the grief, the school district will offer counseling and bereavement support services to all of our students and staff.

On-site support

School social workers, counselors, and psychologists are available for drop-in support for all South Colonie students at the Colonie Central High School Counseling Center. Additional on-site support will be made available the week of Monday, May 10 to Friday, May 14. 

Virtual support

Additionally, support will also be available for students and faculty who are participating in a remote learning environment. If you feel your child would benefit from support, please contact your child’s counselor directly to schedule a google meet. A list of counselors with contact information for the counseling department can be found here.

A death of a peer or someone you know can have a profound impact on our students and families.  As always, I encourage parents and guardians to speak with their children about this topic. Discussing thoughts and feelings about this situation is important in helping your child work through his or her grief.  We also have resources available on the district website to help your children through the grieving process:

Our condolences and thoughts go out to the entire Hanley family and all of Hunter’s classmates, teammates, and friends.


Dr. David Perry
Superintendent of Schools