A high school in mourning and this shit walks in...
WASILLA -- An unapologetic U.S. Rep. Don Young on Wednesday wasn't backing down from statements he made Tuesday at Wasilla High School that suicide shows a lack of support from friends and family.
The comment stunned students and staff reeling from the suicide death of a student last week and sent ripples through Alaska's suicide prevention community. Alaska has the highest suicide rate in the country.
Asked about the “lack of support” comment, Young expanded on it and added that suicide in Alaska didn’t exist before “government largesse” gave residents an entitlement mentality, according to an audio recording of his senior center appearance.
He also criticized school administrators for supporting students who disrespected him and said he refused to “coddle” them.
Young's insensitive and callous remarks shocked many of the students and administration.
Student Sadie Jones says she had never heard Young speak before Tuesday’s assembly. She adds that the first time turned memorable for the wrong reason.
“They started talking, and I was like, ‘what is this?’ said Jones. “I was surprised.”
Jones says another student challenged Young’s comments, which resulted in several profane words from the congressman.
Elena Maddry attends a different school but knew the deceased student. The student calls Tuesday’s incident “really painful.”
“If someone commits suicide, that’s really sad because they have their whole life ahead of them,” said Maddry. “A lack of support of family and friends as a cause for suicide just really set all of us off as we’re in the middle of a grieving process.”