Students press Palo Alto school district for stronger messaging on student suicides

A school district is at the center of student dialogue on its role in sharing messages following student deaths by suicide and respecting the wishes of the families of the deceased.

The conflict is featured in today’s Palo Alto Online, which shared contents from a letter penned by three students to the Palo Alto Unified School District for a stronger stance against rumors and for transparency.

“Seeing these suicides happen quietly among us, without clear details being announced after, creates a sense of helplessness and grief. We feel stuck, (with) these suicides and insufficiency of details feeling almost inevitable,” Gunn students Abby Kuang, Anika Saraf and Juan Acosta Perez wrote in their letter…

Moving into next school year, the district plans to provide more proactive information to students and parents about what the procedures are in the event of a suicide. Administrators also said they want to meet with students to hear their thoughts and concerns.

“We have to do a better job of making sure that we understand what their asks are and what their needs are,” Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Student Affairs Yolanda Conaway said. “I think that conversation needs to be ongoing, not a one-shot deal.”

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