Quincy High School copes with student death

Laura Beaton
Staff Writer

The halls of Quincy High School were unusually quiet Thursday, Sept. 19, the morning after the news of a ninth-grade student’s death the previous afternoon.

The sheriff’s department was dispatched at approximately 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, after receiving a 911 call from a friend of the family, Sheriff Greg Hagwood said.

Deputies arrived on scene at a private residence on Bucks Lake Road about 2 miles outside of Quincy where the girl was pronounced deceased, Hagwood said. He said that the evidence at the residence confirmed that the death of the 14-year-old girl, Paige Ferguson (minor’s name used with family permission), was from a single gunshot wound and has been ruled a suicide.

The shot came from a firearm from the residence and “the evidence was very conclusive that there was no involvement by any second or third parties,” Hagwood said.

The sheriff’s department is awaiting toxicology results.

“It is an unspeakable tragedy,” the sheriff said. “It is very unfortunate that a tragedy like this visited the school and the community.

“The sheriff’s department extends sincere, heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of the young lady. We wish them all of our best thoughts and prayers as they suffer this tragic loss,” Hagwood said Thursday morning.

According to a friend of the family, the girl had been battling depression and was seeking treatment.


School response

Principal Sue Segura, Superintendent Micheline Miglis and Sheriff Hagwood met at the school Wednesday afternoon to formulate a plan to deal with the loss.

They took immediate action to cancel the scheduled Back to School Night. Every parent was notified of the cancellation via the school’s automated telephone system.

“We’re doing everything we can,” Miglis said Thursday morning at the high school.

“We are shaken and grieving as a community and at this point in time we want to focus on students and staff and provide any support necessary and to stabilize the operations in the school.”

The Plumas Unified School District’s board of directors released a statement Sept. 20:

“It is with very heavy hearts and extreme sadness that Plumas Unified School District announces the loss of one its students on Wednesday afternoon, September 18th. Today has been a sad day for all of us, and we send our condolences to her family and friends.

“The community support for our students and staff has been tremendous. The Board of Trustees wants to thank everyone who has extended their thoughts, prayers, and good deeds in this time of need. Additional staff and support will be available throughout the schools district wide for students who wish to speak to a counselor.

“Out of respect for the family the district will not be discussing the details of the situation. PUSD will continue to work with our collaborative partners and community resources to provide ongoing services for our students and staff.”


Counseling services

Segura notified teachers and students of the tragedy Thursday morning at the start of the school day.

“We have experienced a tragedy in the loss of one of our students last evening,” she said in a memo.

“We will all be challenged today in different ways. Counselors are available as well as clergy throughout the day.

“We want to encourage you to stay at school today. Should you feel that you would like to use their services, please feel free to excuse yourself to spend the time you need with these individuals.”

Classes continued Thursday and Friday as scheduled. Counseling services continue to be available for anyone who wants them, Segura said Sept. 23.

She said that she personally thanks Hagwood, Miglis, the board and counselors for their tremendous support.


See related story update: 

Family and friends sought help before teen suicide

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