Past the Tipping Point: Teen's mistake leads to his final one

Past the Tipping Point: Teen's mistake leads to his final one

AMBOY, Wash. – Tami and Ron Suetta's son, David, was one of seven kids in the Battle Ground School District who committed suicide in the last two years.

David was close to his family. He had friends, and he wasn't bullied. But he did make one mistake – the kind of mistake a lot of teenagers make – and sadly, he followed that up with another one that neither he nor his parents can undo.

None of it makes sense to Tami and Ron. It doesn't make sense that their 17-year-old son would choose to end his life.

David was ambitious and hardworking and in the ROTC program as a junior at Battle Ground High School.

Then one night he made a bad decision.

"Him and two other friends had gotten drunk in the parking lot," said Tami. "So he got arrested for minor in possession."

He was suspended from school, but for him that wasn't the worst part.

"He was told that depending on the outcome, which would have been Jan. 12, that's when he was supposed to go to court, that he may be dropped from the program – the ROTC," Tami said.

January 12 was a day David just couldn't face. So he avoided it with the most permanent decision anyone can make, leaving his parents to contemplate what they might have said or done to help him see past what was only temporarily in the way.

"If we had known maybe we could have had that talk with David," Tami said.

"I'd tell him that everything would work out. Tomorrow is always different," Ron said. "I think when you're a teenager all you think about is today not tomorrow or next week or how things are going to turn out eventually. They're thinking about right now."

Youth suicide experts say that's just how teenagers' brains are wired. They say it's why it's so important for parents to remind their teens that whatever the disappointment they're dealing with right now, it won't feel terrible forever.