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Who should patrol the tracks?

Original post made by sad parent, South of Midtown, on Jun 5, 2009

I could envision a town where groups of kids and parents decide to guard the tracks together in memory of the kids who have died there. these are our children... we need to show by our actions that we care.

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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 5, 2009 at 9:55 am

Our town has something many other towns do not have. We have railroad crossings that 50% (a guess) of our high schoolers have to cross every day to get to school. These big trains make a lot of noise and for those who go to school at Paly, they are an audable reminder every 30 minutes or so of a way out of a way out that others have taken.

Gunn has had suicides this spring. Paly has had suicides in living memory of those at Paly or while their siblings were at Paly. But, the only ones we hear about are the ones on the train tracks. It is a very dramatic way for someone to commit suicide because everyone knows. It is not done quietly in the dark like jumping off a bridge in the dark, or taking some pills in your bedroom because it is so visible. The media can't stop reporting it because it is news when a train is stopped and the coroner is called in. It is news because the crossing is closed and the people on the trains or the people wanting to cross can't do so. It is very dramatic.

What can we do we ask ourselves? We can do little to man all the crossings 24/7 because the tracks go through the middle of our town and there is very easy access. We can demand better types of barriers which will not allow public access to the tracks.

We could get some big hearts as signs and put them up at the crossings with signs saying that all our students are loved and no one is excepted. A big red heart at each crossing with a P and a G and the numbers of students at each school. Every one of our students is precious and loved by this community and every single student counts.

Prayer vigils, candles, whatever we can think off, all will help our students know that this community cares and wants them safe.

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Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 5, 2009 at 12:59 pm

We don't need to man them 24/7--the trains don't run all night.

While people keep saying that making the tracks less accessible won't make a difference, studies show that making a suicide spot less accessible does actually reduce the number of suicides.

Yes, some suicides are very carefully planned out, but a lot of attempts are impulsive and spur-of-the-moment. Making it harder to get on the tracks would help.

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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 5, 2009 at 1:27 pm

I just drove down Alma - there is a uniformed police officer standing near the tracks, along with several other adults (perhaps district staff?). I'm hope they stay there until the end of school.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 5, 2009 at 2:12 pm

With some special training

Maybe the Palo Alto Police Department - Explorer Post 61Web Link

And some of the older Boy Scout, Girl Scout and Sea Scout Troops.

This could be opportunity for Church volunteers also.

There is an awful lot of track to cover but only a limited number of access points.
If the effort were quite visible it might deter some from making a terrible decision.

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