Facebook, of all places, let me know that another one of my former students is dead. She was only a junior in high school, and she overdosed, and the student who messaged me on Facebook said that the other people at the party didn’t do a thing to help her. That could easily be high school outrage rearing its head at an opportune moment, but knowing the people this girl hung out with, it could be the truth.

Oh, Jessica. You were so full of life, and anger, and attitude. And yet a burst of enthusiasm and girlish laughter sometimes bubbled up. I wasn’t worried about you in the way that I worried about Omar, the one who took his own life. I wasn’t worried about you in the way that I worry about so many others, the ones who fight obvious abuse or learning disabilities or neglect. Yes, you fought other girls outside the school, and yes, you wore red with so much pride to broadcast your affiliations, but there was that girl deep-down, the girl who liked to read and write, the girl who was whip-smart, the girl who brooked no hypocrisy, the girl who wrote poetry to emulate her favorite rappers, the girl who navigated that ocean of middle school so well most of the time. Even when you didn’t want to, you would pay attention and watch me as I tried to teach you. We shook hands most days. You would smile, which didn’t happen as often as it should have.

Should I have worried more? Should I have done more? Someone should have.

More than a little melancholic and perhaps melodramatic tonight with this news. But, really — of all times to be melodramatic, the loss of a vital 16-year-old is worthy.

And yet I am angry. I am angry at you, Jessica, for being at the party, for taking whatever you took, for leaving your smarts behind. I am angry at you for wearing red with pride. I am angry with you for neglecting your homework and for hanging out with those kids.

But I don’t want to be angry with you. I want to direct my anger at your family, and your friends, and your school and your teachers, and whatever circumstances directed you down this path. I am sure we are all culpable.

I don’t know what those circumstances were, and I don’t know who those others are. I knew you.