A week after a Scarborough High School student allegedly stabbed herself and a 20-year-old friend in the woods next to the Scarborough Library, other students are still seeking counseling about the incident.

Scarborough police will soon ask the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office for a decision on whether any criminal charges should be filed in what police say was a suicide pact.

Students still troubled by last week’s events are getting help from school counselors – two students as recently as Tuesday. And school officials are working on the next steps to help the student reenter the school in the future.

“We have extensive training in crisis intervention and it certainly is part of our job descriptions,” said Guidance Counselor Amy Boyce said. “We’re here for the kids who are feeling the effects of it and help them.”

On Tuesday, March 8, at about 5 p.m. Barbara Kring, 20, a 2004 Scarborough graduate, called police from her cell phone and reported that she and a friend were bleeding and needed help. Police found the two in the woods next to the Scarborough Public Library and transported both to the hospital.

Police found syringes, rat poison and a knife in backpacks at the scene. Police believe that the pair injected themselves with the rat poison, although testing on the substance has not been completed. Police also believe that the 15-year-old stabbed Kring in the neck and back before stabbing herself.

“The indication at this point is it seems to have been the juvenile is the one that did the stabbing,” said Scarborough Police Chief Robert Moulton.

Police said they are conducting interviews of the parents and friends, but have not been able to have a detailed conservation with either Kring, who has a throat injury, or the juvenile.

“It’s a tough thing. We’re certainly sympathetic to all the parities involved,” Moulton said. “It’s a horrible tragedy.”

What evidence the police do have will be sent to the District Attorney’s Office to determine if any charges should be filed, and if so, what those charges should be.

School response

Last week was the first time either Boyce or Social Worker Susan Martin had to handle a crisis situation while at Scarborough High School, but Boyce said they were well prepared.

“I look at this as a sad, unfortunate situation,” Boyce said. “But I knew we could get together as a crisis team and do what was best for the students at this school and the student who was affected.”

On Wednesday morning the staff was gathered as part of an already scheduled meeting and were notified about the incident by Principal Andrew Dolloff.

The staff was told the issue should not be raised in class and students who were having trouble should be sent to guidance department where they could receive professional assistance.

“Kids aren’t discouraged about talking about it, but it should be done in a proper forum,” Boyce said.

During the meeting there was very little information about the incident and most of what was known was from various media reports. Boyce said information regarding a particular incident is given to staff and students on an as-needed basis to help protect the privacy of the people involved and their families.

Kring is a 2004 graduate of Scarborough High School, and the juvenile is a sophomore. Police said the pair are friends, though their parents did not want them to be. Photographs in the 2004 Scarborough yearbook show them seated next to each other as members of the poetry and art clubs.

The Current was unable to reach Kring or her family this week. The sophomore’s family declined to comment when reached by phone Tuesday. School staff members who worked with the girls in various activities either declined to comment or did not return phone calls.

Boyce and Martin said they were not sure how many students sought counseling the day after the stabbings, because other guidance staff were also seeing students.

However, the majority of those affected – the sophomore’s classmates – were visited by two social workers while they were in class the morning after the incident, and were able to discuss the issue on a one-on-one basis.

“I thought the whole situation was handled professionally,” Martin said. “I was really pleased with how it unfolded.”

However, those who knew the pair were not the only ones affected by the incident. Boyce and Martin also assisted students who had a similar experience occur in their lives, in whom the incident triggered an emotional response.

For Martin another concern was whether the stabbings would cause other students to behave in a similar manner, which she describes as a “contagion phenomenon,” meaning that others many take similar actions after seeing one person do so.

During her meetings with students Martin tried to convey a positive message and she told the students that those involved are now getting they professional help they need and emphasized a lot of hopefulness.

Boyce said she focuses on listening to the students and providing them the support they need to get through the situation.

There also are activities that many people participated in to provide healing. Martin said the student’s classroom made a big get-well card and gave it to their classmate.

“I think everybody benefited from that,” she said. “The student was pleased to hear from her classmates and receive well wishes.”

Scarborough rescue workers carry one of two females, who police believe attempted suicide, out of the woods near the Scarborough Library March 8.

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