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Community rallies to support Glacier High following death of guidance counselor

by Hilary Matheson Daily Inter Lake
| November 19, 2019 8:04 PM

Counselors and therapists throughout the valley are supporting Glacier High School staff and students following the reported death by suicide of guidance counselor Jerad Avery on Monday.

On Tuesday, Kalispell Public Schools Superintendent Mark Flatau and the Flathead County Quick Response team were at Glacier to provide continued support. He said Glacier staff met Monday night and early Tuesday morning to prepare for the arrival of students.

“The Flathead County Quick Response Crisis team is a close-knit group of school counselors from across the valley as well as community health-based therapists who are on-call in any crisis that occurs in any of our schools,” Flatau said.

“We are taking one step at a time,” he said. “We know everyone responds differently.”

He expressed gratitude for the response from colleagues and mental-health professionals around the valley.

On Monday, Flatau issued a letter to staff and families, saying he was “deeply saddened to report that we were informed this afternoon by law enforcement that a staff member at Glacier High School, Jerad Avery, took his life this afternoon.

“Please know that we will have additional support staff from other schools and community on site at GHS tomorrow for our students and staff. Please keep our school community in your thoughts and prayers as we deal with this tragedy.”

Flatau included the press release issued by Kalispell Police Department in his message to families. That release noted that at about 2 p.m. Monday the Kalispell Police Department responded to a reported of a man outside the chain-link fence on the Three Mile Drive overpass above the U.S. 93 bypass. A short time later dispatch received a call advising a man had been hit on the bypass roadway at that same location.

“Kalispell Police Officers, along with Kalispell Fire and West Valley Fire responded to find a 50-year-old Kalispell male deceased,” the release stated. “No foul play is suspected.”

The Kalispell Police Department is conducting an ongoing investigation with the assistance of the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and the Montana Highway Patrol.

There will be a memorial service for Avery at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, at Glacier High School.

There will also be a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 25, at Risen Savior Catholic Church in Evergreen, with burial to follow at Glacier Memorial Gardens.

If you, or someone you know is in crisis or distress, help, support and resources are available 24/7.

- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255 to be connected with a trained crisis worker who can provide free and confidential emotional support. For more information visit Options for people who are deaf or hard of hearing are available by calling 1-800-799-4889.

- Crisis Text Line: Text 741741 and connect with a trained crisis counselor right away. For more information visit

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