‘We can’t lose another child’: Judson ISD trustee pledges to address mental health after Kirby MS student takes own life

Jordan Cole, 14, committed suicide in June, his mother says

CONVERSE, Texas – The mother of a Kirby Middle School student who took his own life said schools need to do more to with mental health.

Shawntina Harris has her son, Jordan Cole’s last heartbeat etched into her forearm.

“We put a little bit of his ashes in the ink,” she said.

Harris said the 14-year-old always wanted to put a smile on somebody’s face.

“You could be having the world’s worst day and he was the one to do something silly or goofy just to make you laugh,” she said.

Her worst day came on June 24, 2023, when Cole committed suicide. He was finishing up his year in eighth grade at Kirby Middle School.

“There was no red flags,” Harris said. “He didn’t talk to me.”

Harris said her son struggled with his mental health and was bullied.

“He chose to deal with this on his own instead of coming to me,” she said. “Those are demons I now have to deal with on a daily basis.”

Harris knows she isn’t the only parent dealing with this type of pain.

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for kids between the ages of 14 and 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We need better communication between the school systems, between the mental health system,” she said.

Judson ISD school board trustee Jose Macias said student suicide is a problem.

“We can’t lose another child,” he said. “We can’t lose children.”

Macias created a task force to address the emotional and social well-being of students.

He said the task force will continue to work to come up with a plan to address the issue that can be brought to the school board.

“We can mourn,” Macias said. “We can feel that loss. But going forward, we also have to still look to support students and ensure that we’re meeting their needs socially and emotionally.”

As an organ donor, Harris estimates her son has saved at least five lives.

Harris hopes Cole’s heart continues to beat through the change she’s creating.

“I’m going to continue to push this issue and I’m going to continue to demand,” she said.

Harris and Macias will meet with the task force at 10 a.m. Saturday at Judson High School.

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

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About the Authors:

Daniela Ibarra joined the KSAT News team in July 2023. This isn’t her first time in the KSAT newsroom– the San Antonio native spent the summer of 2017 as an intern. Daniela is a proud Mean Green alum, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.

Andrew Wilson is a digital journalist and social media producer at KSAT.