25 Middle School Suicide Attempts in Poplar, MT Last Year

Perhaps Poplar parents should look in the mirror when looking for someone to blame

UPDATE:  Mother files lawsuit against school, state after son’s suicide.


Recently, the first- year principal of Poplar Middle School asked that a group of students remain behind after an assembly.  Because each of those students was receiving failing grades in at least one subject, the principal used a pep talk of sorts in an attempt to motivate them to work harder.

Many parents of failing students were offended that their children were singled out and various complaints ensued claiming that their children had been unnecessarily shamed. The principal apologized to each of the students and  last night several parents met behind closed doors to complain to the school board.  Asking for the principal’s termination or involuntary cultural training, parents appeared to be seeking someone to blame.

Poplar Montana is a small community located in Northeastern Montana. Its widespread poverty, alcoholism, violent crime, and unemployment provide a sharp contrast to the peaceful friendly image common in Montana’s small towns.  Bars grace the windows of area businesses, drunks stumble across the street in broad daylight, and it is common for family members to stab each other. Police corruption in Poplar is legendary.  Is it any real surprise that children aren’t happy growing up in Poplar?

Last year, 5 Poplar Middle School students committed suicide.  There were 20 other attempts as well.  Out of the total number of middle school students (140), 25 attempted suicide and 5 were successful.  That is a staggering number that for the most part has evaded media attention.   The Poplar Middle School suicides are far more disturbing than a principal’s unpopular new tactics.  Obviously something ISN’T working in the Poplar school system, perhaps parents should be looking in the mirror when they want someone to blame.


3 thoughts on “25 Middle School Suicide Attempts in Poplar, MT Last Year

  1. I raised a family in Poplar, 12 years. No one wants an answer to your question. I battled with the school for all 12, much of it with a superintendent up on embezzlement charges which were waived as he continued to embezzle, I expect with the blessing of the FBI and prominent Montana attorneys who were actively involved in embezzling roughly $300,000 from the Poplar Ambulance Association, which they drove out of business by draining gas and cutting battery cables when running a newspaper column accusing them of embezzling money didn’t fly. With all malicious intent, they deliberately refused to make ambulance runs even weeks after the association gave the hospital the ambulance, deliberately, until two young girls bled to death in the street without aid. My (and children) wife was harangued so badly as a teacher in the school that she has been disabled ever since, I was forced to pull my son out of the middle school in 1997 for his safety and relocate all of us to Missoula. The harassment from the school was largely a result of very malicious threats from FBI agent Cruise who, embittered over the ambulance caper, in the severest of tones predicted my death by all manner of illegal operation. Don’t think the problem is Poplar. The administration in Missoula was even more inept and dishonest. While struggling to get my son through high school there, there were numerous suicides and other incidents, including the rape of the daughter of a long family friend, most likely be a certain staff member, all of which has been denied and ignored, of course. My last job there, after 8 years university science and math, MS mcl from MSU, with 3 years graduate research, was for a “research” company next to the DOJ, $5/hr on Palmer. There I am surrounded by a handful of slimy little punks trying to make it look like I’m cheating them, but the real point of it is that they’re trying to coerce me into using or buying crack or crank or pot. This is the real problem, the state is run by freaks. I’m supposed so stupid as to walk into that trap, whether set up by the FBI as was most likely, or by the school admin to discredit my testimony about the rape and other misc misconduct. And that is the problem, you’re bloodly lucky half the kids in that Hell hole don’t whack themselves, and no one is more familiar with Montana K12 schools than I. I attended 22 of them. A complete and utter fraud. The US is bad, but Montana stinks even from where I am now, which is as distant as you get on planet earth. Now you have an answer.

  2. The above post is more or less completely irrelevant; they’re discussing events from over 10 years ago and trying to apply them to last years situation. Also, it’s important to note that though the Middle School Principle, who I’m not exactly fond of, wasn’t employed with the district during our period of extreme emotional hardship last year. Things have improved greatly this year within the school district itself, the problems these kids are born from the extreme social ills of the community and then brought to the school. Even children who have perfectly healthy homes (and many do) are victimized by those who play their personal demons out on their peers. If anything, the staff of the Poplar School District deserves to be praised for so often stepping in to fill the gap left by irresponsible and apathetic parenting.

    You really want to help the kids in Poplar? We need economic development, a real justice system, a real police force (with a public drunkenness ordinance to enforce) , an end to entitlement programs which encourage unemployment and household expansion, and powerful intervention programs to end child abuse and neglect.

    Family violence is not a Native American tradition, we need to stop sheltering abusers behind a facade of culture.

    • I assume you are referring to the comment by Alan Foos. I allowed it to post only because I didn’t have any idea what he was talking about. I figured someone who knew would set him straight somehow. I’m happy to hear things are better in Poplar. I’m sure it has been a difficult situation.

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