Two Parkland Shooting Survivors Commit Suicide in the Span of One Week


Joe Radely

Parkland residents attended a 1 year anniversary vigil to commemorate those lost in the 2018 shooting and mourn the deaths of the two young teens lost during a year later.

On February 14, 2018, the world lost 17 individuals when a shooter entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire. The Parkland, Florida community was turned upside down as victims’ parents and family grieved for the loss of their loved ones and survivors dealt with the aftermath of witnessing one of the deadliest school shootings in the nation’s history. About one year later, the community is once again struck with tragedy as two Parkland survivors committed suicide within the span of one week.

On March 24, 2019, it was released that a second teenaged survivor had committed suicide. 16 year old, Calvin Desir, was found unresponsive by Miami police. Only days before the death of Desir, 19 year old, Sydney Aillio, took her life. The community was shocked by the news, heartbroken that the horrific tragedy has taken two more young lives.

Aillio’s mother told CNN that her daughter had lost one of her good friends during the shooting and had reportedly been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The 19 year old was struggling with survivor’s guilt, a mental condition in which an individual feels guilt for surviving a traumatic event when others did not.

While the tragic deaths of these two young individuals has left the community once again in mourning, it has started the conversation about dealing with the aftermath of an event so traumatic. Due to the stigma surrounding mental health, many students likely struggle silently, unable to convey the suffering they are enduring. Yet the loss of two teens has prompted school administration to offer more counseling and urge parents to speak with their children about their grief and struggles following the shooting.

Parkland school administration has made it clear that they have and will continue to offer counseling and emotional support to their students. Although, survivor and recent graduate, Kyra Parrow, published an essay on VOX describing the attitude the school took following the tragedy. She highlighted the inadequate availability of the health care professionals provided and the expectancy for the students and staff to return to school only two weeks after the shooting. She personally struggled with such immense anxiety, fear, and grief for her classmates, but was told to bottle up her struggles and continue on with her life.

She explained that her, and many of her fellow classmates, still fear sitting in a classroom. Parrow described her worry about the tragedy being repeated in another classroom somewhere else in the world.

While tragedies such as school shootings take friends, siblings, parents, and other loved ones from the living, they also steal the innocence of survivors and their feelings of security. School shootings have devastated the nation and have paved the way for the great gun debate. While the conversation surrounding gun control has grown, the mental health of survivor’s has been grossly overlooked. The suicides of two teenagers has shed light on the importance of identifying behavioral crisis in survivors and ensuring every individual has access to the help and support they need to begin healing from tragedy. Students, like Jayden Hawley (11), have been deeply affected by the deaths and find the event “incredibly sad” and “hope every possible action can be taken to prevent further tragedy.”