Highlands Grieves Death of Alumnus
Highlands School District grieves the loss of Mr. Benjamin Swantner, a 2007 graduate of Highlands High School. Mr. Swantner, 20, was in his junior year as an education major at Slippery Rock University.
"Ben was a great student, a great person," Mr. Tom Shirey, high school principal, said. "This is a great loss for the community."
Mr. Swantner was an active student and athlete at Highlands. Bacterial meningitis is suspected to have been the cause of his death.
Mr. Swantner recently visited the high school. District officials have been in contact with the Allegheny County Health Department, who advised that while bacterial meningitis is contagious, there is no reason for panic. High School officials alerted parents of high school students of the situation through a OneCallNow telephone message to phone numbers provided by parents/guardians to the district.
Health officials advised that students and others who have had close contact with someone with bacterial meningitis -- not simply being in the same room -- should contact a family physician. Close contact includes sharing food and drinks, close and/or prolonged physical contact.
This article originally published in October 2009.