Mother Learns of Son's Death on Facebook After School Posts Grief Message

There is no easy way to find out about a child's death, but finding out about such a tragedy through a Facebook posting can complicate an already horrible situation.

That is what happened to Jackie Barden, who found out that her son, Ridge Barden, 16, died from a head injury after a football game in Phoenix, N.Y., when the school posted about the death on its Facebook page the next day.

The Homer Central School District posted that the community was "deeply saddened and shares in the grief of the Phoenix School Community," The Associated Press reported.

Barden was not notified because the school only had the father's phone number for an emergency contact. By the time she found out what had happened, it was already too late to view Ridge's body.

"I would really hope that people just take a look and start realizing that things have to change so that no other parent would have to suffer and go through what I went through," Barden said, WSYR-TV reported.

Despite the difficulty such an event poses, Kevin Sharp, the Cortland County Coroner, said it was up to the family to let the school know who to call.

"If the people that are there are not forthcoming that there is an estranged spouse or a parent who they are not speaking to, and it doesn't need to be a spouse, it can be a parent, child, sister, brother, anyone," Sharp told WSYR. "We don't know who to contact."

WSYR-TV also reported that Police Chief Dan Mack said the department will make a greater effort to notify both parents in future situations.

Ridge Barden played lineman for John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix. After getting hit in the head during a play, he was able to sit up, but said he had a severe headache and collapsed when he attempted to stand, the AP reported.

An ambulance took Barden to the hospital but he eventually died. An autopsy report showed the cause of death was bleeding of the brain due to blunt force trauma, WSYR reported.