Students counseled in wake of suicide — (Tampa Tribune)

SSRI Ed note: Teacher and Vietnam vet on Prozac learns that his contract will not be renewed, commits suicide.

Original article no longer available

The Tampa Tribune

 March 28, 1992

 Author: DEANNA BELLANDI; Tribune Staff Writer

A Sebring High School teacher was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his apartment Thursday, one day after finding out he wasn’t going to have a job next year, authorities said. A crisis intervention team of counselors and school officials talked Friday with the students of Russell Hews to help them deal with the loss of their teacher.

“”I think some of them felt like they didn’t have a chance to say goodbye,” said Roger Pinholster, the district’s coordinator of students services. “”There was really no warning on their part.”

An industrial arts and drafting teacher at Sebring’s only public high school, Hews had received a letter Wednesday notifying him he would not be nominated for a teaching position in the upcoming school year.

The decision was related to Hews’ performance, school board spokesman Bruce Wyse said.

Principal Calvin Smith said he announced Hews’ death to the student body on the school’s closed-circuit television Friday and asked for a moment of silence.

“”He liked kids,” Smith said.

Hews, 44, had taught in Highlands County schools since 1981 and was on a continuing contract until last year, when he was demoted to an annual contract.

Hews’ body was found Thursday at his apartment on Melody Lane after he failed to report to school.

Hews, 44, had a history of depression and was taking the anti-depressant drug Prozac, according to information from a Highlands County Sheriff’s Office report.

A memorial services for Hews, a Vietnam veteran, will be at 11 a.m. Monday at the First Baptist Church of Sebring. Hews will be cremated.

Record Number:  246