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Pascack Valley High School Student Who Shot Himself Dies

Wood Dale Park in Woodcliff Lake.
Wood Dale Park in Woodcliff Lake. Photo Credit: COURTESY: County of Bergen

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. -- A 17-year-old Pascack Valley Regional High School student who shot himself Sunday morning in a county park in Woodcliff Lake has died, authorities reported Wednesday morning.

Jack Farrell -- whose father is a retired Rutherford police officer and whose mother works as a teacher's aide at Pascack Hills High School, deliberately killed himself, Pascack Valley Regional High School Supt. P. Erik Gundersen and Pascack Hills Principal Glenn deMarrais said in a joint statement.

Someone passing through Wood Dale County Park found the injured teen and notified police around 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

He was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the head, said Anthony Cureton of the county sheriff's office.

"They did two surgeries and...then did last rites," a family friend told Daily Voice Sunday night.

On Wednesday morning, Gundersen and deMarrais released this statement:

"With great sadness I am writing to inform you that a beloved PV student, Jack Farrell, has passed away. It is important to note that Jack’s mother, Ms. Gonzales, serves as a teacher’s aide at Pascack Hills. The district has been in contact with the family and they know that the thoughts and sympathies of our entire school community are with them during this difficult time.

District teachers have been made aware of Jack’s passing. We believe it is important to keep all district parents informed of this tragedy, as there are Hills students who have Jack’s mother in class and others who know Jack. Our counselors have and will continue to be in touch with those students.

The cause of death was suicide.

We want to take this opportunity to remind our community that suicide is a very complicated act. It is usually caused by a mental disorder such as depression, which can prevent a person from thinking clearly about his or her problems and how to solve them.

Sometimes these disorders are not identified or noticed; other times, a person with a disorder will show obvious symptoms or signs. We are including important information from Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care that may be helpful to you in discussing suicide with your child.

Although the majority of counseling attention has taken place at Pascack Valley High School, please know that our counselors at Pascack Hills are available to meet with students who are struggling with this or any other distressing issue they may be facing.

If you or your child require guidance or assistance after school, please email A counselor will quickly respond.

Dealing with this loss will be particularly challenging for our students and staff, and will be an ongoing and lengthy process. We will continue to keep you up to date on how we plan to support students throughout the district in the coming weeks and months.

All interventions and support will be implemented based on expert advice and in our students’ best interest. Please do not hesitate to contact us or your child’s school counselor with any questions or concerns."

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