The City of Palo Alto and the Palo Alto UNIFIED School District (PAUSD) issued a joint statement to the community this afternoon following the news that a junior from Gunn High School lost his life to suicide last night. PAUSD Superintendent Max McGee and Palo Alto Mayor Nancy Shepherd expressed support and noted resources for students, parents and the community as a whole, and encouraged residents to reach out and connect with friends, neighbors and others.
"We are all deeply saddened by this tragedy, and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family and friends as they grieve today and through the coming days and months. Working in collaboration with our extraordinary community and mental health partners, PAUSD will continue to provide support and assistance for our students, their families and our staff. We are also working together to raise awareness and thus increase vigilance for identifying and helping individuals who may be struggling with complex challenges in their lives," said Superintendent McGee.
Mayor Shepherd expressed condolences to the victim's family and friends, and expressed the need for the community to continue to work on addressing the complex issues of youth well-being and mental health.
“Our community is shaken at the sad news about this young man’s death. We extend our thoughts and prayers to his friends and family. I know that our strength comes from the commitment that we all have to support our youth, and we are deepening our partnerships with schools, parents, students, mental health experts, and others. Our work to ensure resources, support, and conversations about mental health remains a constant, and we will continue to work through these difficult times as we draw strength from our collective community spirit,” said Mayor Shepherd.
The City is immediately extending the hours for track guards at crossings along the Caltrain right-of-way from the first train in the morning, at approximately 5 a.m. to the last train in the evening, at approximately 1: 15 a.m. The extended hours will include rail crossings at Churchill, Charleston, and East Meadow.
There are many local resources that you may find useful to help yourself, a family member or a friend in need. The PAUSD Mental Health Resources List provides information on a wide variety of local options.