Posted by worried parent, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 9:51 am
My sympathies to the victim's family.
Please look out for your family and friends and tell someone if you are worried about them! Everyone should have the suicide prevention phone number in their cell phones: 800-SUICIDE, 800-273-TALK (8255) Para obtener asistencia en español durante las 24 horas, llame al 1-888-628-9454.
Posted by YSK, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 10:13 am
I just read about yesterdays incident, now this tragedy. No one knows why these two poor souls have taken this way out, but I can't help but wonder if they could see no alternative, had no hope. These are very scary times, and there is NO HELP out there unless you have money or insurance. We are losing jobs, our homes, our services, everything including our dignity. To make matters worse, at a time when we need it most, we have nowhere to turn. Right now even sliding scale mental help is not affordable. I know this for a fact, I tried. Apply for a job on Craigslist, or corporate websites? Unless you have some highly specialized job skill, no one even bothers to respond. I myself have certain skills, have held down good jobs. I have sent out over 200 resumes, and received only ONE answer, saying thank you but we read this too late and hired someone already. I went to a job fair, the HR guy said most recruiters/HR people don't even read the submissions! If you contact these companies directly, instead of strictly adhereing to the 'online application process', you are considered someone that cannot follow simple instructions, and your app goes into the virtual circular file. In my case, I have kept my own monthly obligation bare bones low, if offered a job as a cashier I would take it, and manage to survive. Not well, but manage. Try to find and apply for that job! Good freakin' luck! So many others need jobs that are in specialized fields, that will pay the bills for the lifestyle they were living before this all crashed down about our ears. They had very good jobs and are now floundering while trying to save their homes and support their families. Many of us are still paying WAY above market rents, mortgages. People say 'then leave if you can't afford it', many can't even afford to drive to San Jose much less pick up and move to...where?
I woke up this morning before I even read about these two suicides thinking about growing up in New York and what we learned about the Great Depression, remembering a field trip to Wall Street, actually getting to put our fingertips in the holes on buildings left by bullets from people shooting at the financial institutions out of fear and desperation. I remember hearing about the suicides, and the hardships. I remember my grandparents stories of survival during that time, they were a young couple with two toddlers.
Turn on the news ANY night and hear some anchor in a sonorous voice announce: More layoffs expected. California unemployment rate 11.5%, highest ever. More economic down turns for California....the teasers are endless and come all night during what should at this point, be escapist television viewing. Thank God I love to read!
Yet I come on here every day and read about how this City Council keeps devising ways to make businesses leave Palo Alto, and simultaneously bring in more housing. How is this constructive?
Maybe we should start a peer run support group at one of our local parks. Something in the early evening. Even bring your own food, sit on the grass or bring your own chair and share experiences, frustration, stress, encouragement, hope. Congregating at the park would be free, and maybe we could all provide much needed support to one another.
Maybe then a person won't feel the need to stand in front of a train.
Posted by sarah, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 10:20 am
East Meadow Drive is a popular route for children walking to school. I know that Caltrain likes to call all pedestrian deaths on the train tracks "suicides", but is is possible that this boy was just walking to school and got confused by the train crossing?
Posted by Grade Crossings, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 10:41 am
My heart goes out to the families of those who died.
Is it time to think about eliminating the at-grade crossings for Caltrain and building grade separations? If we want to avoid the ones like in Redwood City and Belmont, we need to underground Caltrain. The ONLY way to pay for that undergrounding is funding from High Speed Rail along the Caltrain corridor (Federal stimulus money and State bond money) combined with money from development on top of the train tracks, mostly north of Oregon Expressway.
If the lawsuit against HSR succeeds, we will not see Caltrain undergrounded for many years, if ever.
Posted by Reality Check, a resident of another community, on May 5, 2009 at 11:05 am
Sarah, I've been a Caltrain rider since 1979 and have the distinct impression from following such stories over the years that the vast majority of Caltrain deaths _are_, in fact, suicides. It has been my observation that in cases where there is no evidence of suicide or circumstances are more consistent with an accident, Caltrain officials will err on the side of calling it an accident or unknown until determined to be otherwise. In all likelihood, the ratio of suicides is actually higher than Caltrain stats show because it stands to reason that some number of the inconclusive cases were suicides too.
Over the course of my life starting with childhood, I've played on and around trains and tracks and trespassed through rail tunnels and over rail bridges plenty, and I've always thought that -- at least for me -- it would be hard to accidentally get hit by a train. They are very big, very loud and take a completely predictable path. The only type of accident that I know is easier to have is one involving two trains. Folks passing in front of or behind a train they know is there do not realize there is one coming toward them on the adjacent track and can get themselves hit that way. I can remember a few of this category over the years. The rest are pretty stupid daredevil behavior, inebriation and/or suicides.
Posted by unbelievable, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 11:07 am
Please, there must be a more sensitive way and place to express whatever point you are trying to make. A young person who obviously experienced much pain requires our mourning, sympathy, and support for all affected, not sarcasm. My thoughts go out to the train engineer and all emergency personnel, as well as the family and friends of this young person. A difficult time for all.
Posted by YSK, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 12:08 pm
I agree with Reality Check. I witnessed a suicide by train last August. I can still watch it like a movie reel in my mind.
Trust me, it was intentional. I watched her do a dry run. She left the intersection when I tried to speak to her, completed it up the line. She was determined.
About two years ago, a woman deliberately plowed her Honda into a Caltrain at the crossing of E. Meadow. In Mountain View and Atherton respectively, two different women sat/lay down on the tracks and would not move.
Then some years back, a man was killed by the Churchill Tracks and it was not reported by the main media though they were there, as at the time they tried to avoid suicide reporting to avoid giving people ideas. Turns out that one was later deemed an accidental death. They claim he was jogging alongside the tracks. I wonder. Late and dark fall night, unlit uneven surface, not conducive to running really. The only accidental death I truly believe was the little girl with the new bicycle at E. Meadow.
I lived by those tracks for 16 years. We lived by Churchill and Alma when the two Paly students threw themselves in front of a train. I don't see how most of the deaths can be anything else BUT suicide. The train is large, loud, takes one course and you can see it coming for a mile, hear it for just about as long. If I could live nearby and hear every train with accompanying horn, bell and whistle with my doors and windows closed, I don't believe you be by the tracks and not be able to tell a train is coming. Even with iPod earplugs in, you can still feel the ground shaking....it's all very sad.
Posted by Tragic, a resident of East Palo Alto, on May 5, 2009 at 12:31 pm
Once again, the bubble surrounding Palo Alto is shattered with more suicides by young people. The suicide rate of young people appears to be lower in surrounding communities. It's a vicious cycle - sometimes it seems suicide spreads, especially among students when times are especially hard for them. Condolences to their loves ones and to those who had to witness the deaths.
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 2:07 pm Walter_E_Wallis is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
The juxtaposition of this with yesterday's suicide suggests that the news coverage may have contributed to the repeat performance, just as massacre coverage simulates copycats. It is time for the media to consider whether they have an ethical duty to develop a format that informs the public without instructing or encouraging copies.
Posted by Gunn Parent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 2:29 pm
I just picked up my sophomore son at Gunn--teachers were in an emergency meeting during lunch. A notice was read at the end of the last period about the incident--didn't say if it was a sucide, just that someone had been killed. Kid was a student at Gunn. Identity has not been announced as the parents request privacy.
Posted by HighSchoolStudent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 2:50 pm
Oh my gosh. I just heard who it was from someone. and I know him(I dont think i should post it for everyone to see tho...seeing as how the parents wanted privacy)'...but he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would commit suicide..
Posted by Experienced Mom, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 2:53 pm
Oh God, it could have been any of our kids suffering from severe depression and despair. Sometimes they hide it extremely well from everyone, and I mean everyone, including the most loving parents in the world.
My heart and prayers go out to this family. What a horror. I am so sorry. Don't let anyone try to blame you, and some will. Most people have no clue how hard it is to see, let alone prevent and treat, such a horrible depression. Prayers for your son and brother, and for all the pain you are feeling.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 3:01 pm
My sympathies to the family. However, I do not think they will keep the matter private for long. These kids are all over facebook, the internet and on phones to each other. All his friends know by now and the Gunn community will soon know too. Paly, will not be far behind and then Terman and JLS.
There were two suicides in Paly for the same class, two years apart. At Paly, they know when there is an accident or worse as they hear the clanging of the trains for a very long period. When the one that happened at a similar time, it was all over the school before the end of the day without the administrators having to tell them.
Posted by Facts?, a member of the Walter Hays School community, on May 5, 2009 at 3:26 pm
Do we know the facts yet? The article says that he was running across the tracks. I know they like to speculate that these are suicides and Gunn is stressful Junior year, but maybe he was just trying to beat the train. I hope people aren't jumping to conclusions and putting the family through a painful process that may not actually be true. Suicide and accidental death are so different to deal with.
Posted by JA, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm
Please everyone, be respectful to the person and his/her family. It is not our place to make guesses and judgments as to whether this was suicide or an accident and who the person is. The schools and city will release more information when it is appropriate.
Posted by HighSchoolStudent, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 3:45 pm
He was the nicest kid ever. Kind and sweet. No one takes their life over something like a test. Being depressed is one of the hardest times in life. You feel like you have no one to turn to, now multiple that by a long period of time, imagine the despair and heartbrokeness.
Please do not assume. He deserves all the respect he can get. RIP.
Posted by lucy, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 3:46 pm
Being a graduate of Gunn, the pressure of academics from school and parents is not an easy task to juggle along with all the standardized testing and impending college applications/essays. Suicide should never be the answer to anything, and I'm very sorry for this loss. I'm sure he was a great son and a friend to the people who interacted with him.
Posted by platitudes, a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 3:56 pm
americans are so great with platitudes memorials flowers,but they are completely inadequate on self examination,they always believe in ''remedies''.its part of what america is,the ''remedy'' of enslaving and killing to ''build'' a nation etc. ad nauseum.this current climate of ignorance and denial could make anyone feel like this person who had no answers, ''remedies'' ,so typically american, a pill ,a bullet an idealogy.the media repeats crime stories giving an impression that everyone needs to be jailed or tortured.that makes anyone suicidal.why this obsession with imprisoning living beings? ask yourself what you are doing with yopur life,insatead of what you THINK about ''yopurself...what are you actuall;y DOING in this uinknown awareness we call ''life''
Posted by Sharon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 4:04 pm
Gunn just sent out a well thought out notification.
"As you welcome your children home this evening and tell them you love them, I encourage you to talk with them about the importance of letting caring adults in their lives know if they are having problems or are worried about friends who have problems. Breaking the code of silence so often observed by teens, even when they know friends are wrestling with difficult issues, can be the very best, most supportive thing they can do for their peers. No problem is so big that it cannot be solved if we know about it and have the chance to work with the student."
Out of compassion for the family and friends I feel we should think carefully before posting any more comments on this tragedy.
Posted by Gunn Student, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 4:06 pm
I heard about his in class today, apparently he was a student at my school, though I didn't know him or any of his friends. It's really unfortunate that he has passed away, there were quite a few students who were confused at the school. I actually cross the tracks on my way to school and back every day. My condolences go to his friends, family, and fellow students.
Posted by Facts?, a member of the Walter Hays School community, on May 5, 2009 at 4:07 pm
Students - not appropriate. Take the Facebook comments and talk about them elsewhere. This is not the forum. You're stirring a volatile pot here with people who are not careful with their words or mindful of people's feelings.
Go talk to your counselors at school tomorrow if you need to, talk to your friends, and most importantly give your parents hugs tonight. They'll need them.
Posted by Dekel S., a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 4:33 pm
I knew this kid for years. Never a best friend or anything like that, just another kind face in the hallways. I cannot imagine what is must be like for the family and my sympathies and prayers go out to them.
Facebook is not the medium to discuss the boy's identity as well as the circumstances regarding his death.
On another point, someone addressed the need to build some sort of "guard or separator" for the train tracks. That is ludicrous. How about we start addressing the root of the problem instead of trying to outsmart a kid who may or may not have chosen to be on those tracks.
Again, my heart truly goes out to the boy's family and friends who had the privilege of knowing him better than myself.
Posted by Parent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 4:39 pm
I actually find the reporting of this as early as 8:53 am as a suicide a great transgression--and insensitive to the nature of the incident. A high school student was crossing the tracks at a time appropriate to get to school for the second period of the day. Quoting the train engineer off handedly was sensationalist journalism that does not pass the test of reasonable, objective journalism. Did the author think about the impact on the family- who had not been notified--or the 14, 15, and 16 year olds that had to comprehend that not only one of their own was gone, but also a very personal tragedy surrounding the end of his life might have been played out . There had to have been a better way to write the story-- your comments and that of the engineer were heresay at that point in time. Disgraceful....
Posted by sad parent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 4:59 pm
I cannot even imagine the sadness and despair that drove this young man to such a desperate act. I also cannot imagine the sadness and despair his family must be going through.Every day, for the rest of their lives, they will have to face their grief. Losing a child, a loved one, a friend to suicide is so tragic. I respect the students who will not post his name and are sending their condolences and good memories of this young man. Keep posting them, it will mean much to his family.
Along with the notification, as previously posted, the school also sent the following list of numbers:
Resources for a Crisis
The following is a list of available resources in our community:
Posted by Charlie, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 5:09 pm
News like this is devastating, and I really wish his family the best. It is a hard time to be a Junior in high school, and we all must take the time to realize that life is fragile and something to cherish. I did know him personally, and I remember talking to him a lot during my freshman year. It's really sad knowing that I won't see him again, but I hope he is in a better place. Please, know that we will all be thinking of you.
Posted by Parent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 5:14 pm
Oh God, it could have been any of our kids suffering from severe depression and despair. Sometimes they hide it extremely well from everyone. I had a close young bright co-worker who passed away last year in a similar way and it left us a group of friends wondering for long time what we could have done to prevent that from happening. Not to mention how the family had been going through.
My heart and prayers go out to this family. What a horror. I am deeply sorry for your loss. Prayers for your son and brother, and for all the pain you are feeling and getting through.
Posted by Neighbor, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 5:23 pm
I am so sad for my neighbors. I agree that we should forget about stereotypes, and I wish the initial report had not said "Asian" which only serves to encourage guessing and stereotyping. This is a typical American family, not overly intense about academics, and a typical American kid. If it was suicide, just think, how many of us had suicidal thoughts as teenagers? I know my sister and I both did. This could be any of us, and my heart goes out to the whole family.
Posted by Mother of the Junior at Paly, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm
All my thoughts and prayers to his family. This is a tragic death. Never take anything for granted. Be kind to your children no matter what they are, their grades, etc. Cherish them and love them every day.
Posted by Mother of a Junior at Gunn, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 5:41 pm
I agree with Mother of the Junior at Paly. Love our children and cherish them no matter what their grades are, and what mistakes they make and let them know they are loved and they are precious to us at all times.
Posted by Disgusted with Reporting, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 5:54 pm
There are stories that shouldn't be used by media to boost readership, and this is one of the most obvious. In addition, using racial terminology to describe a death is the height of insensitivity and limited world view.
Posted by PalyStudent, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm
Alright, first, I would like to say to whoever said that thinkg about facebook, facebook is much more vicious, so don't come after us for wanting to express our condolences in a teenage fashion. He was a friend of mine, and it broke my heart when I found out, so stuff it. Our feelings our hurt too, and I think you're being insensitive to his peers.
I don't know what drove him to do this, but all of the evidence that I have personally has pointed to his suicide, not accident.
There have already been two deaths at Paly, this is the 3rd PAUSD death this year, and I don't think that I've stopped crying since I found out. The student in question was an amazing friend, and I wish that he would have talked to one of us instead of taking the path that he chose.
Posted by Sophomore, a resident of the Southgate neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm
I talked to this junior just 13 days before today. He seemed really nice and I wanted to meet him in person. I will keep him and his family and friends in my prayers, forever. Rest in peace, my friend. I'll be missing you.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm
There are two aspects to keeping his identity private. One is respect to his family and to his memory. The other is for the rest of us who are wondering if this is someone who lives near us, a friend of one of our kids, someone who our kids played soccer with, etc. etc. I for one have spent the afternoon trying not to dwell on all this and praying for the family, but it is human nature to wonder and sometimes knowing is better than speculating.
Posted by Friend, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm
I agree with Resident that knowing is better than specultating. I am a junior at Gunn, and when Gunn released the news, everybody was suddenly calling everybody they knew, trying to remember who was in class today...this must be more disrespectful to his memory than to release his name.
When I found out who it was, I was absolutely shocked, because I have known him for several years, and I can't believe he would do something like this. Please release his name and allow people to grieve for him rather than speculate wildly about a tragedy.
Posted by GM, a resident of Menlo Park, on May 5, 2009 at 6:51 pm
I'm deeply sorry for the loss. I do not believe that I know the student personally, as I do not know who it is. I do not know very much about the event; what I do know is that uncertainty can make us all antsy, and cause us to look constantly for answers. From what I've heard, whether it was a suicide or accidental is not certain. Whatever the cause, be it suicide or accidental, I give my sympathies and my love to the family. I simply wish that the boy rest in peace, and that we try, as a community, not to argue, but try to respect each other, for knowing exactly every detail isn't nearly as important as remembering this bright student, recognizing him for his attributes, and knowing that he will remain fondly in our hearts. I believe that his spirit will live on, and his light will keep shining. Peace.
Posted by Paige from Gunn, a member of the JLS Middle School community, on May 5, 2009 at 6:51 pm
I think that it's important to let his family decide how and when they want the name release.
He was a fascinating guy, and I'm really sad that I didn't get to know him better than I did.
There was no way it wasn't suicide. It is NOT hard to see/hear/feel the train coming. It's a huge machine, and everyone knows when the train comes.
It's scary though...because I saw him yesterday, and he was just being a normal teenager, sitting and talking with his friend...and of course I thought nothing of it. But now, thats all I can see in my mind.
Rest In Peace. I hope it's beautiful on the other side.
Posted by student, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 7:04 pm
I cant believe this happened. I didn't know him personally but I'm sure I've seen him around school and its scary to think I will never meet him or get a chance to even know him. I think that Gunn should do something to remember him. It's such a wake up call for everyone and the school did a good job of addressing it. RIP.
Posted by YSK, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 7:07 pm
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Palo Altans are more aware than any community should ever have to be about these tragedies. We need to pull together and start working on a solution. Whether it was deliberate or suicide, perhaps some basic education about the workings of the railroad (N and S trains that cross within seconds of one another), and about options available to kids who are hurting and feel there is nowhere to turn and no one to turn to. I have noticed in the last ten years a distinct inability in a lot of kids to use coping skills. Instant gratification has taken the place of those. Maybe kids need to be taught these skills!
My daughter who went to both funerals of the Paly boys, suggested perhaps there should be a student made video of a kid who chose this way out, hovering there at the site just minutes afterward and seeing the aftermath of his/her decision. How it affects their family, friends, emergency workers, train personnel and passengers, and most of all, how that split second in time is irreversible for him/her, maybe showing loss of young adulthood, marriage, children etc.
Palo Alto students have often expressed themselves through making short films, and what would be better than an expression of compassion and education by your peers? Maybe a project in film/comp lit. That the moment the decision is made is just one short moment in the life of a teenager...and a split second in the entire life of a person!
Posted by Sharon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 7:38 pm
There was a study done of those who "miraculously" survived jumping from the Golden Gate bridge,
they all said that in retrospect the suicide choice was a terrible,terrible mistake.
They also understood what a devastating act suicide is towards friends and family.
The PAUSD has done a good job on this matter, it is now up to parents to reach out to their kids, as only they can do, and for friends to reach out to other friends in support and resolve that they will never take this option.
Hopefully some adults will set up a respectful and monitored memorial web site, as was set up for the 3 Stanford GBS students who died last year.
The call is up to the parents of this cherished young man,to do as they see fit.
What a waste.....Peace be with his soul....and his family
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 7:41 pm
This may have been a Gunn student, but both our high schools are grieving. Many of the Paly students went to JLS with this student. The students know each other from sports, or other outside activities or elementary schools.
This is a teenager from our community and we all feel it.
Posted by j, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 8:48 pm
this was total unexpected
im really sad to know that it was him who died.
he seemed like such a nice guy.
i just saw him yesterday too :(
its sad how sudden things can change.
i just hope he'll rest in peace.
i really hope that we can all learn from this and realize we have to learn to love and care for each other. At Gunn, many people are always in their groups and never dared to venture out to talk to others. It is important for us to get out of our comfort circle and communicate and share the love for others. I think that is one important area that many people need to improve on.
Posted by anonymous, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 8:58 pm
just earlier today i was discussing with my friend how sad it was about a fictional suicide on a tv show. little did i know that in a few hours that this would become so real. if you dont know who the victim was, ask pretty much anyone on the gunn campus. they should release the name but until then just be respectful
Posted by Bill Johnson, publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly, on May 5, 2009 at 9:08 pm Bill Johnson is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
To the Palo Alto community and Palo Alto Online visitors:
On behalf of the Palo Alto Weekly and Palo Alto Online, I want to extend our condolences to the family of this young man and to all that knew him. Over the next few days, we will all be struggling to deal with this tragedy, just as we have with far too many similar situations in the past.
The comments that we are removing from this topic are generally comments that will be constructive and appropriate tomorrow or the next day, but that we feel are not appropriate as family and friends are dealing with the early impacts of this event. Please respect them by limiting your comments to expressions of support and remembrances. There will be ample time later for a discussion of issues relating to teen stress, school testing, parental and peer expectations and other forces that affect our children and families.
As is our policy in the case of deaths (whether accidental or through suicide) that take place in a public place and when the person's identity is widely known among his community, we will be publishing his identity and information about his life. As several posters have pointed out, withholding this information results in rumors and speculation and stands in the way of the broader community grieving and engaging each other in a supportive fashion.
As school officials have communicated earlier this evening, the most important thing for both adults and children to do right now is to open up as much communication with each other as possible and for parents to convey the fact that their love is unconditional.
Counseling is readily available in the community to both kids and adults, and will be on hand for anyone in need at Gunn (and other schools) tomorrow.
For now, however, let's respect the family and friends by being very thoughtful in postings to Town Square.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 9:13 pm
I understand what you're saying, but looking over the posts it strikes me that people also need a place to talk--and in some ways I'd rather see it here (with moderating) than on Facebook. I say this as someone who has nothing to add to the thread except my condolences.
Posted by Sharon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 9:35 pm
I suggest that for the next 3 days this forum be limited to expressions of respectfull grief, appreciation and memory on this very sad and tragic matter that touches the heart and soul of every parent and friend.
Posted by Your friend, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 9:43 pm
I saw you everyday in my math class, and I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to talk more. I really will miss you, and I wish I had gotten to know you. I know what a kind, generous, and friendly person you were, and I wish we could have been friends.
Posted by Ethan, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 9:54 pm
Im a freshman so i didnt really know him, just a familiar face, but i know his sister a little and i know some of his friends, and my heart and the heart of Gunn as a whole goes out to those who were close to him.
May he rest in peace. I hope its sunny for him on the flipside
Posted by teen counselor, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 5, 2009 at 10:13 pm
All day I've been thinking about this, impossible not to. As a counselor, I see kids/teenagers on a regular basis... and I think about them a lot. Last school term, 07-08, I met with teens in SF high schools who were going astray; attendance, drugs, anxiety, or whatever. Or if a kid just wanted to hang out, bounce some crazy ideas off an older person, an unrelated adult who would not judge them or report them for almost anything they said. A significant number of these kids were acting out dangerously. That counseling program was cut this year due to budget constraints. I was sad and amazed to see that action. What are the priorities?
In Palo Alto where I live and meet with kids, talk with teenagers, I feel there is a need for strong proactive programs like the one I served in SF, that have the capacity to hold whatever is dumped out. For the fast-paced kids here, there is no time to waste. teencounselor.org
Posted by AHP, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 10:15 pm
I would also like to say, let's not make the same mistakes again.
Let us realize many are hurt by this death, and may react differently; some may send condolences or some may react negatively or some are looking for answers. I ask for everyone to keep a clear mind, as best they can, and make sure that others know that they are loved and cared for.
Posted by Paly Mom, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 10:17 pm
I have two girls at Paly, and can attest to how shaken they are by this news.
I just wish there were a way to take the sympathy for this boy's family that's pouring out of every parent in the city today and make it tangible for them. They should know that our hearts are with them, and try to remember to take comfort from their community, even in very dark times. Don't be alone.
Posted by helen, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 10:27 pm
And to think that I used to cross those same train tracks to get to Mitchell Park Library...
I don't personally know the guy, but I've heard of him and a few of my friends know who he is. It's a tragic loss for the Gunn community, but I hope that it will serve as a reminder that life is precious. He had a whole future in front of him, but now the future and the present don't exist for him anymore. That being said, I think we should not be quick to judge or make assumptions. We should commemorate and mourn the loss of a wonderful young man.
Let a friend know that you care about them and that they matter to you. No one should go through life without knowing that someone out there cares about them. My heart goes out to his family and friends.
Rest in peace, I hope you are in a better place now.
Posted by Parent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 10:41 pm
I met him very briefly, once, months ago, at a drop-off post an event - I remember he caught my attention with a quickly thrown, funny comeback to a question I had asked my daughter. He was not a close friend of my daughters' but in that strange way that some people briefly touch ones' life and become lasting memories, he will always have a place in my mind. I just realized that he was one of the young people whose picture is on my camera with junior prom photographs. As a parent I feel overcome with a sense of immense sadness and can imagine how painful this must be for his family. My deepest condolences. I also see how shaken and sad his friends and peers are. Perhaps we can all pause for a few moments, honor his memory and pray for strength for all those who were a part of his life, both family and friends.
Posted by Gunn Parent, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 10:43 pm
3 years ago, my son tried to harm himself--he had knives and knew how to kill himself but did not take lethal action. This was a real wake up call. After talking with a child psychiatrist in the emergency room, we followed their advice and committed him for observation. This saved his life! If someone tries to harm himself, he/she should be committed to a 72 hour hold in a child psychiatric facility. This cannot be taken lightly. It requires professional help.
Boys take more violent action--guns, knives, trains,jumping from high buildings. Girls tend to use drugs and are morte likely to try to get help. If a kid is troubled for a long time, when they start to act better is the time to be troubled--they make a plan and actually feel good before the suicide.
You cannot ignore the signs of depression. It hits every socio-economic class. Keep the lines of communication open--well for teens, talk to their friends--it may be their lifeline!
Posted by greiving friend, a member of the JLS Middle School community, on May 5, 2009 at 11:18 pm
I couldn't beleive it. I have known this guy for years, and I only hear about this at around 3:00, because I go to Paly. I can't rememer the last time I cried like that. He was such an amazing character. I don't know what Gunn is going to do without him, and I sure as hell don't know what I'm going to o without him.
Posted by Friend, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 5, 2009 at 11:28 pm
Friends since middle school. We had great times together and it was only last week that we were laughing and joking around with each other. It seems so unreal that this has happened. We will all sincerely miss you and remember you for being the great person that you are! R.I.P.
Posted by friend, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 6, 2009 at 1:17 am
these photos make me cry, knowing that i'll never see the person lying under the yellow tarp ever again...
i know why you felt like that was the only way out, and i'm sorry i wasn't there the past week to help you. i wish you serenity, and i hope you have finally found what you've been looking for. rest in peace my dear friend.
To Readers: if you did not know him personally and don't know what happened/the reason behind it, please dont say anything presumptuous; it hurts to read a denial of what happened due to ignorance on behalf of the commenter or reader
Posted by Gunn Alumnus, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 6, 2009 at 2:04 am
Excuse you, "Alex" for your insensitivity and immaturity; I most certainly feel sorry for your disregard for life.
People can be driven to such measures by all kinds of terrible feelings. Simply put, some of the more difficult aspects of life can be harder for some individuals to deal with--possibly as a result of differences in past personal experiences. I know this to be true for myself.
Wealth doesn't bring happiness. The exclusive and sheltered neighborhood of Palo Alto brings many life challenges in itself.
Growing up in Palo Alto, I myself have gone through stages of my young life which I have found to be very harsh and unforgiving--almost to the point were suicide seemed like a plausible alternative.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 2:42 am
Look young 'uns--and I know a lot of high school students are visiting this threads--try not to blame yourselves or one another for what happened. Or for the different reactions people have.
What happened was horrible--tragic, shocking. And when this kind of thing happens, there's often a lot of anger mixed in with the grief. Try not to beat each up other up over this.
I don't know why what happened here happened, but I've known other people who killed themselves--and cause-and-effect aren't that simple. It's never quite clear why some people survive extreme hardship and others are victims of despair. Some attempts are thought out and carefully planned, others spur-of-the-moment. Most of us aren't trained to detect suicidal ideation. Therapists are, of course, but a long-practicing therapist will have that client he or she can't save after all.
The older I get the more tragic teen suicide becomes to me. As an adult, you know what once seemed unbearable passes and life changes and you go on--and a lot of things weren't that important after all.
As an adult, I sometimes just wish I could hand over some of that perspective. Talk to your parents if you can or an adult who seems to have sense if you can't.
Posted by GunnStudent, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 2:52 am
No he did. A few months ago.
But I always managed to debate with him.
Even if he didn't believe me, if he didn't listen to me, atleast I knew I tried my best. He was doing so well lately too. It still hasn't fully hit me yet. I guess today when I go to school, I'll finally realize what it means when someone disappears. I never even got to say goodbye.
Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 2:52 am
One more thing, I don't know anyone who's known a suicide who hasn't wished and thought if they could only have do-over they could have prevented it. If only, if only . . . but it's not that simple. Someone intent on suicide may conceal their intentions--and not want to be caught. Sometimes yes, but not always.
It's not as if you had experience with this in the past--there's no reason why you'd have recognized the often subtle and even contradictory signs and known what to do.
Posted by Sadden, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 3:44 am
Whether suicide or accidental, it was a death, and affects those around the person. It is a sad time for the family especially, and my heart goes out to them. It will be a hole in their lives for a long time.
I have memories of my teenage years, where thoughts of suicide came up, and I felt there was nowhere to turn, no one I could trust, no one who would be interested or cared enough to listen. No one would miss me...
This happens in adult life, too, when we're down so low for whatever reason - and it becomes hard to ask for help. Or worse, when we look so "together" that it's assumed we have the solution, and "paint ourselves into a corner" and CAN'T ask for help without "looking stupid." We're too high on the pedestal and can't fall down.
Guess what? Looking stupid is temporary. Asking for help is but a command when we take the rudder of our life into our own hands, and make our boat go where we want it to go.
It was amazing to me as a teen that I could CHOOSE to do something - or not - and take the consequences. It's your life, so choose where you want to go. Yeah, so maybe it's against the tide, or harder to do, or terribly impractical, but if it's what you want to do, look past the thing blocking the way. Be "unstoppable."
"Death is a permanent solution to a temporary problem."
Namaste to all teens and children who feel there is no one they can talk to or trust - look around ... and be surprised. There is someone to whom you can be with.
Posted by AJC, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 6, 2009 at 5:24 am
"Life is not a game, my friend...For losing or for winning...And when you thing you've reached the end...It's only the beginning..."
This incident, the loss of a dear student and in such a way, is proof of how our society has taken a turn for the worse.
I hadn't known the student too well...But I do remember him. We had mini-conversations often when he was in my class, freshman year. Things about music, things about Jurassic Park movies I believe...I would never had thought he'd be one to go this way.
I send out my prayers and sympathies to the family.
Posted by SJ, a resident of the Greenmeadow neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 7:41 am
Sometimes teenagers do not want to talk, but peers may be able to tell someone that a fellow student is in trouble. Please tell our children to talk to each other if they find it difficult to relate to adults, maybe some student will come forward and an adult can intervene. My sadness is profound and I wish I could say or do something to make the pain and suffering of this student's family & friends, be lessened. We need to take care of each other & stop living inside our own little walls, complete with unrealistic expectation & unattainable perfection from our children. We, as adults, are responsible for their well being. We, as a community, need to do a better job of this with our High School students.
Posted by A Palo Alto parent, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 8:05 am
We do indeed need to do better as a community for all the children of all ages. We need to stop valuing performance over person, and show kids that they're great the way they are. Instead of trying to force all differently shaped pegs into our Palo Alto-sized holes, let's make sure kids know that their best is good enough.
There will always be depressed children and adults, but if you give kids support and unconditional love, there will be fewer of them who become hopeless and more who can reach out at that terrible moment when they think they have no one to turn to.
Posted by a parent from Gunn HS, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 6, 2009 at 8:09 am
My son goes to Gunn. I can't stop crying and my son is very angry. Can someone with training please write what to do. Lots of kids are reading this article,it would help a lot to get some guidance.
To prevent this in the future can we set up some kind of anonymous call center at school where kids could leave a message to say xyz sounds really depressed. If there are several calls about the same kid then the school can counsel the child or the parents or refer them to some place where they could get some help. Thank you. My prayers and heartfelt sympathy to the family and friends of the child we miss so much.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 8:21 am
Superintendent Kevin Skelly sent the following to parents yesterday, there are suggestions for places to receive help at the bottom.
Perhaps you have heard that a student at Gunn High School was killed on the train tracks this morning. Our sympathy is extended to the student’s family, his friends, classmates and staff at Gunn. I spent the day at Gunn and the entire staff is working diligently to support students and each other in the aftermath of this tragedy.
As parents and guardians, we are naturally deeply affected by this type of event. It reminds us how important it is for us, collectively, to redouble our efforts to look out for our young people as they navigate their way into adulthood.
District psychologists and counselors are available for students, staff and parents who need to discuss issues surrounding grief and loss. Please contact your school site principal, psychologist or guidance office if you need assistance. At the District Office, questions and concerns may be directed to Carol Zepecki at 650/329-3717.
Gunn principal Noreen Likins wrote the following message that was shared with students today. I hope you will emphasize this message with your child.
“It is very, very important that we look out for each other. If you have problems or are worried about a friend, if you know of other students who are dealing with difficult issues, please let a parent, teacher or counselor know. No problem is so big that a solution cannot be found if people ask for help and support.
Please look after and take care of each other. Each of you is precious to us.”
If needed, the following resources are available in our community:
Adolescent Counseling Services 650/424-0852
Center for Living with Dying 408/243-0222
Kara-Grief Support for Children and Adults 650/321-5272
Teen Clinic (Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital) 650/694-0600
Teen Line/Crisis Intervention/Counseling 800/852-8336
Posted by A Palo Alto parent, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 8:35 am
Let's not put too much pressure on kids to "take care of each other". Of course, being a good friend means listening and helping, but if we tell kids they're responsible for taking care of each other, instead of doing our jobs as adults, we're not only absolving ourselves of our responsibilities, but telling children that it might be their fault if someone harms themselves. Kids tend to take the blame unless adults tell them otherwise.
Posted by PARes, a resident of the Triple El neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 9:10 am
This is an incredible tragedy for this family, the Gunn community, and anyone else who knew this boy.
Who knows what went on in this particular case, I'm sure the reasons are complex and it is demeaning to this boy's memory and his family to presume anything about his particular circumstances.
But for me, when I hear "teen suicide" associated with a child (referring to all the recent cases) who was outwardly confident, friendly, and doing well in school, I can't help but think our value system has gotten seriously off course, where our children are surrounded by the message that their value as human beings is determined by a letter or a grade, and without a certain number or a certain grade, they have nothing to offer the world. In some cases, this message is reinforced by parents, but I know many parents who go out of their way to counteract that message but their children still feel it - they are surrounded with it, from their peers, their teachers, their friends' parents, the media, etc. Our kids not only feel this stress in a way that is very unhealthy for a developing psyche, but they spend so much time on homework and in structured sports, community services, or whatnot (all in an attempt to appear perfectly well rounded in their high achievements) that they don't have the time, freedom or accepting environment in which to just be teens, hang out with friends, and form the types of really close, non-judgmental friendships that sustained most of us adults through our teen years and allowed us to develop a sense of humanity, empathy, and character. I feel that increasingly our schools are missing the point in terms of educating the next generation, since in terms of life long success and well being, confidence, a healthy sense of identity, and a genuine self-initiated (not scripted) sense of purpose are all far more important than a grade in high school or a SAT score. When will we really realize this? What does it take?
I hope PAUSD will start paying closer attention to people like Madeline Levine, Denise Clark Pope, and others who have a lot to say on this subject at the Stanford School of Education. We are missing the forest for the trees.
Posted by Amy, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 9:25 am
I just had to say that PARes has said it so well, what so many parents have felt for a long time. Having gone through, first-hand the suicides of the two Paly boys a few years back, it breaks my heart that it has happened again. This affects us all and we all need to contribute to a healthier, less pressured society. Prayers for the family and friends of this young man, that they may all find peace somewhere.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 9:38 am
I think the last two posters are getting it right. What has been lost in this generation is the mentoring that used to go on when many of us were younger. Whether it be sports, music, scouting, or any other activity that kids take part in, the goal is always to achieve the best rather than to have fun doing it.
When kids who love baseball, or soccer, or dance, and get into their teens, there is only enough space for the best to continue. Those who are not quite so good get left out. For those who do fall into the category of being the "best" they enter into a very competitive arena where winning or achievements are more important than recreation and fun. The coaches or leaders don't take time to get to know the kids, they are just teachers of another kind who are there to see a stellar performance from the kids.
Going back a couple of generations, scouting leaders, youth club workers, sports coaches, etc. were mentors to the kids. They were more intent on getting the kids to have fun in a safe zone and giving the kids time to talk about what is going on in life. I feel sure that one of the reasons facebook is doing so well is that it is
enabling kids to put out feelings and tell the world what is going on in their life because they have no one else to talk to.
One of the places where there still appears to be teen mentoring is in our churches. Some of the youth workers in our local churches are fantastic. Some of the things these churches do with the teens are life changing and memorable, and the kids will remember these times with fondness much more so than their high pressured lives in school or other activities.
Please don't discount the value of church life in keeping our teens well balanced and safe. Find out about what is going on in a church near you and see if there is something that could make a difference.
Posted by Resident on West Meadow Drive, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 10:24 am
My heartfelt sympathy to the family who has lost their loved one. I grew up here in Palo Alto on West Meadow Drive and have seen and heard of too many deaths on or by the tracks. Is there something more we can do??
Posted by A mom, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 10:51 am
I was driving to work this morning and right before the train track at Charlston and heared the radio saying" Mother's Day this weekend" then I burst into tears. I can imanging the poor Mom how to pend her day without her son.... I cried for her as I am a mom too. May God Help the family and let him rest in peace.
Posted by Gunnmom, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 10:57 am
This is so sad as we new the boy and his parents. But I will say that when I was in high school on the east coast (graduated 1970), two students committed suicide. Kids go through so many changes and there can be hormonal changes along with becoming an adolescent. All I am saying is that we should not jump to and assume that it was stress from school.
It could be all sorts of complex things that even this boy wasn't able to understand and express let alone his parents.
Posted by Gunn Mom, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 6, 2009 at 11:33 am
A friend of mine recently told that about 6 years ago, her son thought of committing suicide. He told 2 friends who "turned him in" that day to the counselor at school and saved his life. The family had no idea that he was so depressed--he hid it well from them. The couselor talked to the boy, had him see a psychiatrist that day, and he was admitted that night. Clinical depression is an illness. He was hospitalized for 2 weeks, and even after he was released, his dad slept by his bed every night for several weeks on suicide watch. Now, 6 years later and with a lot of medical help, he still has mild bouts of depression. But now he knows the warning signs and can get support from counseors at his college to deal with academic pressure, etc.
Comfort and caring cannot solve deep depression. Friends can listen, yes, and try to understand, but, at some point, expecting them to solve the kid's depression is just not realistic. Everyone gets blue and friends can help with that but long term depression needs professional help. You would not ignore someone who is having a seizure--you would immediately get help. The same is true for depression. Kids should not feel that they are ratting on their friend by turning him/her in. They should feel that they are getting their friend medical help, and maybe saving his life.
Posted by Gunn parent, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 11:33 am
This family is from our elementary school and my son is friends with the young man's sibling. My sincere condolences to his family for the loss of a wonderful son, brother and friend to many. I have been impressed with the thoughtfulness and caring exhibited by the Gunn students and hope their compassion and descriptions of the young man's great qualities will be of comfort to his family. Those who choose to judge or make assumptions are neither helpful nor enlightened.
Posted by Steve C, a resident of Menlo Park, on May 6, 2009 at 11:47 am
Just incredibly sad if this poor child in fact took his own life. It is impossible to comprehend what grief and pain this child's family and friends must be enduring right now. If you don't pray, at least your thoughts should be with the family and friends of this boy. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Posted by Neighbor, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 12:15 pm
Resident, thank you for speaking about teen programs in churches. I have been thinking a lot about how grateful I am for an amazing youth community that my sons are in; besides a Coming of Age program during which they explore their beliefs and write their own creed, they have weekend conferences where they can express themselves and are accepted fully, and they get to know each other on deeper levels than usual. I'm also very grateful for the excellent professional help my son has received from a local psychologist with experience in meditation, who has taught my son some really practical, physical and mental skills for managing his thoughts and emotions, to use when he starts to recognize his own warning signs.
Posted by Mayfield Child, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 2:24 pm
Attending Wilbur Jr. High School (now JLS) back in 1958, a seventh grader who lived by me lost an argument with a fellow student. In crossing the tracks, he committed the ultimate life stopping act on his way home.
"Sadden" wrote "Death is a permanent solution to a temporary problem"..not many parents or teachers converse to their children regarding this subject, thinking it will never hit home. How fragile children's minds are but we must cover all bases, even at a young age.
To this day, he is still fondly remembered. Not just by myself, his parents, and siblings, but by the community who also grieved for him. My condolences to the family and also to all the close friends who will not forget.........
Posted by YSK, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 2:49 pm
I posted a part of this on another thread, but I thought I should post here too an experience we had just two months ago:
I think when anyone sees a person on the tracks doing ANYTHING call the police immediately! I do now. I don't care if it turns out to be nothing. That's better than the alternative.
A few months ago my daughter and I were crossing the tracks at E. Meadow and saw a young student (she on had her backpack) standing on the tracks. Actually standing IN the rails! She had iPod buds in her ears and was at first circling around aimlessly, just like the girl I saw on Churchill after her first dry run (August suicide by train). We pulled over to watch her. Not only wasn't she leaving the area, she wasn't looking up or around her. At this point she was standing stock still and was looking down at her feet moving them like she was stuck in the rails. It was scary! My daughter saw how upset I was and jumped out to go talk to the teen. Meanwhile, I called the cops as I watched. My daughter approached the girl cautiously and tried to coax her off the tracks. The girl appeared kind of out of it. She wouldn't move. She finally spoke and my daughter later told me she said she and her friends had put coins to be flattened on the tracks earlier that day and that she and her friend were now looking for theirs. My daughter pointed out there was no friend nearby, the girl said the other kid left. My daughter kept trying to get this girl OFF those tracks, told her you can get flattened coins in SF at any Souvenir store. The girl would not leave. By now people were yelling from cars at the Eastbound light there at the tracks, screaming for my daughter to grab this girl. When some guys started yelling from a gardening truck and made like they were going to exit their vehicle, that finally got through to this kid and she began moving. She crossed Alma with my daughter following until she was safely on her way and a few blocks down. My daughter later said she would have grabbed the girl if a train was coming. Interestingly I noticed the entire time my daughter made contact with this kid, her head was swivelling around making sure no train was coming. This kid? Not once!
Warning to parents: the kid mentioned she saw people doing this on a TV show. The coin/train track thing. Coincidentally I had just happened to catch a 'Girls Next Door' that very weekend, and in that episode, Hefners girlfriends did the same thing. Put coins on the tracks then jumped about like idiots screaming their joy when the train ran them over; then showing the camera the flattened coins. I called E! Entertainment to try to talk to someone about the irresponsibility of airing this episode depicting this activity as fun and exciting without even posting a warning. Found out that Comcast owns the show, but met dead ends everywhere. If your kids watch the show (or you even think they may), and this one aired on a Sat. or Sun. afternoon, they may also think this is a great idea to try. It airs frequently in marathons so it WILL be on again. Let your kids know that not only is it dangerous to place objects on the tracks, but its also illegal! Hopefully more people will be watching and will call the police if anyone is in the vicinity of the tracks doing anything more than crossing and moving on.
Posted by Snappers, a member of the Gunn High School community, on May 6, 2009 at 5:35 pm
I knew him since seventh grade, and everybody else who was friends with him couldn't even guess about his intentions of suicide when he was around. We all feel so badly because his last meebo status read, "Suicide is a fundamental human right. This does not mean it is morally desirable. It just means that society doesn't have the moral right to interfere." Two of my friends talked to him that night, and they both feel extremely horrible.
So now I can't compliment his scarf, and there won't be anybody to call me snappers anymore.
Posted by Array, a resident of , on May 6, 2009 at 6:10 pm
Condolences to the boy's family. Just heartbreaking.
Palo Alto teens seem to be under tremendous pressure. I grew up in another city in another era. But my friends and I were not trying to get into Ivy League schools or play sports or do charity work, or do ANYTHING except go to school (and pass) and have fun with our friends. I feel terrible for what teenagers must face today. I can't help thinking it is different elsewhere, that Palo Alto holds kids to very high standards. Enough, wouldn't you say?
Posted by Trista Nguyen, a resident of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood, on May 6, 2009 at 8:21 pm
I am very sad about the incident and my thoughts and sympathy go to his family. I live in between E. Meadow and Charleston so the incident is so closed to me. Today as I was coming home from work at around 6:15 pm and found a young man, 16 or 17 was sitting on Charleston across from my house, with his bike parked on the sidewalk and face drooped down and distressed. I asked if he was okay and asked he replied he was okay that I noticed he was crying. PLEASE TALK AND SHARE FEELINGS WITH YOUR KIDS ABOUT THIS TYPE OF TRAGEDY.
Posted by Smita Joshi, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on May 7, 2009 at 7:56 am
My daughter goes to Gunn. We cross those tracks at E. Meadow every day. We did not know this boy, but our hearts are broken. If only these young ones knew, before their fatal decision, how much love is out in the community, and how much sorrow will unleash for them!
When we first moved to this neighborhood 17 years ago, a young girl with a new bike tried to race the train, and did not make it. Is it time to consider a gate of some sort, a not-so-easy-to climb or duck-under barrier, with information about help resources posted on them? I am thinking something stark and simple:
Posted by BeThatOne, a resident of another community, on May 7, 2009 at 2:25 pm
The state that the world is in today makes many of us humans depressed. The only ones that really know what happened to JP is God and JP. God is the only one thats going to do away with these things that keep us depressed and make us sick. Did anyone listen to JP and his concerns? Was it just "all about me!?" Sometimes when we talk to others about our problems and concerns we need to take timeout and ask about their concerns and problems also. Let each one know that were are all imperfect humans. Have faith in God and pray to him in Jesus name. When we're in trouble or something happens the first thing some people say is "Oh God."
Posted by bernard, a resident of Mountain View, on May 15, 2009 at 1:29 am
You always hear parents or friends should identify when people may be having problems by signs that they give out. You also hear that parents or friends should talk or spend time listening to people who you think are having problems. It's easy to say but hard to do. When people with problems give out signs such as being moody or acting up, parents look at it as misbehaving. Other people just think you're full of problems and avoid you. Or just say people with problems manage to bring up their problems to their friends, their friends don't even think it's a big deal, or they might look you as someone that boring or complaining all the time. I personally think part of the fault are friends and family that's not recognizing the signs. Instead of helping, they just tell the person with the problem to stop complaining or whatever. So to all the parents and older adults who always have advice and answers, you should do what you preach.
I'm not a parent but I'm glad to say that I have heard hours and hours of people's problems. I believe that I may have prevented something bad from happening. What I hate the most is no one listens to me. I can't say I'm the happiest person on earth, but I've been trying my best to hold myself up because I am convinced that no one can or is willing to help me. I am always very quiet and private because I don't like to waste people's time listening to my problems. When I talk, people either lose interest, find it boring, or look at it as whining. That's why I fully understand and so willing to help by listening to people's problems. I don't want people to go through what I have always been going through. If I knew the student at Gunn, I bet you I would've been able to reverse his decisions. I know it. So to all you parents, teachers, friends, etc. who keep saying to talk to people with problems, don't say it. DO IT!