CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — A Cedar Park father is grieving the loss of his son, a Cedar Park middle school student, who recently took his own life.
“Our life has got to go on, but the reality is that we don’t have Mitchel,” said Don Pearce.
Pearce says his son, Mitchel Pearce, died on March 23, about two months shy of his 13th birthday.
In YouTube videos posted online, Mitchel looks like a typical 12-year-old playing basketball and cracking jokes. In one clip he’s walking across the stage being honored for playing the euphonium in sixth grade band, and in another he’s showing off a fancy Rubik’s cube. He was a whiz at solving Rubik’s cubes in seconds.
Since Mitchel’s death, the condolences from classmates have been pouring in. His father has a stack of letters sent from his school, along with a jar full of words of encouragement.
“I hope you know that everyone in seventh grade is quiet and crying because we all miss your son so very much,” one student wrote.
The biggest question for his family is — why? Pearce says there were signs his divorce with Mitchel’s mom was taking a toll on the 12-year-old.
Mitchel’s family on his mother’s side also reached out to KXAN, and agree the divorce was hitting him hard. They say he has a lot of family in the Lubbock area, along with two half-sisters who just spent time with him over Spring Break, a week before his death.
Mitchel’s father does not believe there was any bullying at school, but is not 100 percent sure.
“We wonder, what was going on at school? What little things don’t we know about?” said Sarah Lucas, Pearce’s fiance.
Some parents have told KXAN the district is not doing enough to address the issue following several student suicides this school year, but Pearce does not blame the school.
“We don’t want to jump to any finger pointing of any sort,” said Pearce. “We want to figure out what we can do to root cause this as a community.”
Pearce wants to work alongside LISD to come up with effective programs that share the message of hope when a student feels like they have hit rock bottom.
“You just have to know that there’s always a way out. There’s always a door,” said Pearce.
The Leander ISD school board will continue the mental health discussion at their next meeting on April 24.
On Thursday, The LISD Board of Trustees will meet to go over current services the district offers students and parents. A preview of that discussion can be found here.
Watch KXAN’s Erin Cargile’s full story on KXAN News Today.