PUSD says female student killed by train near downtown this afternoon Crimes & Incidents, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Feb 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm
The PUSD has confirmed that a female student was struck and killed by a train around 2:30 p.m. Police are still investigating the scene near Main Street and Stanley Boulevard, and the train has blocked off access to Santa Rita Road.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 19, 2010, 3:46 PM
Posted by KM, a resident of the Pleasanton Village neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm
I would like to comment on the statement about school letting out at 3:09 and the incident was called to police at 2:32. Some kids get out of school just after 2:00, so to say that school was let out at 3:09 is not a true statement for all students. Some students have different schedules where they get out earlier. This comment may lead people to believe that the student left school before she was let out and should probably be corrected if there is a follow up article.
Posted by robo, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 4:44 pm
I am a student at AV. The above statement is true. The student probably got out at 6th period at 2:07. Th student could have been talking to friends or something like that before going home which would have been the reason for the time 2:32.
Posted by TI, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 4:45 pm
I picked up my son from Amador High. He was pretty shaken up by the news. There were lots of rumors going on, (I don't want to mention here) but I'm still wondering if it really was a student? Such a sad event...RIP
Posted by Rhonda, a resident of the Highland Oaks neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 4:56 pm
By heart bleeds. I am so saddened by this latest event. I certainly pray for all here in town. I hope the witnesses were not kids. The effects on all of us will linger, but none as much as for the family. I wait for more news, not that it will make it any easier.
Posted by CP, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 5:27 pm
I was in one of the closest classrooms to the place where the train stopped we heard the train coming and realized that the horn was being blown much longer than normal and a few minutes latter we could still hear the gate crossing bells. then after class we saw that the crossing had been roped off and police were at the scene. [Portion removed}
Posted by GS, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 5:43 pm
So sad to hear. If it was suicide, I hope high school students realize that whatever they may be going through in high school, bullying, teasing, or anything, you have your whole lives ahead of you after high school! Trust me, suicide is not the solution!
Posted by Lauren, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 5:43 pm
I drove by the scene on my way home and i mean when u here things like she was killed or she got in a car accident it makes you feel really bad but when you see it makes you feel sooooooo bad! :( I am praying for your family
Posted by Austin and Caitlyn, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 5:44 pm
We are students at avhs and we
heard the train horn go on for longer than it usually does and them we heard it strike something and screams came shortly after that we are deeply saddened by this event and our hearts go out to the victems patents and family members
Posted by unknown, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 5:52 pm
I was also in one of the closest classrooms. I heard then train coming and the whistle was a lot louder and it went on longer then it usually does. I could also hear the breaks on the train. I had a feeling that something was wrong, but thought it just had some mechanical problem with the train. I figured out what happened when my teacher looked outside and I saw her face when she looked back at us.
Posted by unknown, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm
I am a student from AV. Some of the witnesses were students and they said it was terrifying to watch. I'm so shaken by this. It was terrifying to hear the train horn it went on for so long. The girl hit is a student whom i know and she did commit suicide. RIP <3 [Portion removed]
Posted by ID, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:15 pm
I knew this poor person who tragically lost her life today at 2:40 p.m. When I got the name of who it was, I was shocked... We had been pretty close friends throughout all of middle school. She was funny and smart and always had something interesting to say... Then, we just kind of lost track of each other, so we went our different ways. It just makes me so sad to even think of why she would do this; also to think that if I had stayed as a closer friend during high school, I would have made a difference. I know I shouldn't be feeling sorry for myself for this, but still... It makes you think you know?
RIP, may you finally find what you were looking for....
Posted by AVHS grad, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm
I am a student from AV. (1)Some of the witnesses were students and they said it was terrifying to watch. I'm so shaken by this. It was terrifying to hear the train horn it went on for so long. (2)The girl hit is a student whom i know and she did commit suicide. RIP <3
(1) Are you implying that students just saw the police, or are you implying students saw the ENTIRE thing? If someone saw the entire thing, why was it no one decided to jump out and save the person?
(2) If you knew for a fact she committed suicide, did you know this beforehand?
Posted by student, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:35 pm
im a student at AVHS. the counselors should check her schedule to see if she had 6 or 7 periods that way they know if she ditched or not. i cant believe this. i heard that she told her friends that was going to commit suicide today, and obviously nobody told an adult about what evelyn said. my prayers go to her family.
Posted by Sonja, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:45 pm
Our hearts just break with such news. While it hasn't been confirmed, and we all pray for the lost and her family, this may be a good place to remind our young (and beloved) readers:
Problems can seem so terribly overwhelming when you're in the middle of them, and especially when you're young; hurts just seem to hurt more with the young. But always remember there are so many people out there who love you and want to help you. If you're feeling heartbroken there are so many places to go. Walk into any church and pour out your heart to a caring pastor or lay counselor; I think almost every church has people who walk members through problems and crises, and they won't hesitate to sit down and talk with you even if you're not a member, or even a religious person. It really doesn't matter; if you're a child or young person with a problem so huge you've considered ending it all, just tell them. Tell a friend; call a hotline; walk into a school counselor's office; open the yellow pages and call any psychologist or counselor listed there. You'll have to leave a message for a call back, but a lot of them will talk to you a bit over the phone for free and help get you pointed in the right direction. If you're really scared, you can go into any emergency room, and just tell the person at the desk that you're scared, desperate and worried you might do something rash. They'll get the right help to you, and they're required to get that help for you whether you or your family can afford it or not, because it's an emergency. Not very many people will ever turn away someone who is hurting so bad. We may not be able to snap our fingers and fix the situation right away, but it helps so much to share a bad situation with someone who cares.
Don't isolate yourself if you feel sad. Allow yourself to cry and mourn, but please reach out to someone if you find that no matter how hard you try, you just can't cope. Many of us go through times like that in our lives; I have never met anyone who wishes they had ended it all when they went through their worst horrible crisis. Everyone is glad they stuck it out and endured the worst. When you do come out of a horrible place, and begin to heal afterwards, it feels so good. And you may end up a more compassionate person because you can identify with other people's pain and maybe turn around and help them, like you've been helped.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Let your feelings out, even if you have to cry for eight hours or eight days straight. Reach out to each other and love each other. Don't be alone. It will get better.
Posted by ptown native, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:48 pm
Those of you who are trying to put her name on here should be ashamed. Her parents/family/friends have a right to find out in the most humane way possible. If police wanted anyone to "know" her name it would be in the article, PERIOD. This is a very sad day for everyone who has been touched by this. I was tring to take my kids to the dairy when I came upon it. RIP
Those who witnessed it will need alot of help working through this, students especially. Those of you who ask "why didn't you help" should be ashamed more than words can express! Get the facts before you question a child, yes I said a "CHILD". I graduated from AV also and the person who asked that question needs to have their head examined. It almost begs the question did you really graduate??
Posted by S.O.S., a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:49 pm
For those of you that knew this young lady, or are students at Amador, I urge you to talk to the professional resources that the school has on hand. Talking helps the healing process, but rumors do not. Please contact the school to find out if there are groups that are meeting just to share stories and memories. It's goood for the soul...I know, I am a survivor of suicide. The families and friends that are left to pick up the pieces suffer much more than this young lady did. She passed quickly, but it will take a lifetime for friends and family to get through this. Help each other...reach out. God Bless.
Posted by Another Parent, a resident of the Country Fair neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:51 pm
To J and AVHS student. My understanding about trains is that it takes an amazing amount of distance for a train to stop. How horrifying for the conductor or engineer to put on the emergency brake and have no other control but to pray. We've all seen those old films where someone is dragged off the tracks at the last minute, but it's just that, a movie. How heart wrenching for those involved as it is human nature to second guess this sort of situation but could you imagine if someone tried to pull the person off, struggled and were also killed, It's just very sad. The following link talks about how long it takes a train to stop. Take care
Posted by a mom, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:52 pm
Sonja - thank you for posting those good messages. Issues can seem so overwhelming to our kids - they need our love and support and need to know that there are always ways to get help through the bad times...
There is likely nothing anyone could have safely done at the last second, but please try to reach out to anyone you think is hurting to let him or her know that there's a way through the pain.
our most heartfelt sympathies are with the family involved....
Posted by from school, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:56 pm
his was just sent out by the district email: The following message is from Amador Valley Principal Bill Coupe: To parents/guardians of Amador Valley High School students: I want to personally update you about an occurrence that has affected our entire school community. This afternoon, an Amador Valley High School freshman student, Evelyn Gonzalez, was fatally injured in an accident on the train tracks adjacent to the school. Our thoughts and prayers are with Evelyn's family and friends at this difficult time. The Pleasanton Police Department is investigating the incident, and their initial investigation indicates that this was an apparent suicide. AVHS staff has been informed, and the District plans to have counselors available tomorrow (Saturday) in the school library from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Tuesday when students return to school. I encourage you to keep avenues of communication open with your student about this issue and talk to them about their feelings and concerns. In a learning community such as Amador Valley’s, an event like this touches everyone. The District also has an anonymous Student Support Tipline available at 925-417-5199.
Posted by s.o.s, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 6:59 pm
OR maybe they should RELLY remove that train from school and downtown! i don't know how, but they need to do something about all this.
This is tragic!, we all know that is not the first person to use the train as a source to commit suicide. Im a student at AV and im pretty sadened by this event, i left school early but my friends called me worried and told me about what had happened, i got pretty scared and wonder why this things have to happen...Such things like this ones make me ma :'(. That train shouldn't be there. My heart & prayers go out to the family. R.I.P<33
Posted by Sam Thomas, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 7:15 pm
My thoughts are with her family and friends. As mentioned before, she was not the first to use the train tracks, if she did commit suicide. My friend also did the same thing 2 years ago. I know exactly how any one of her friends feels. Its going to take a lot of time for everything to be okay.
This is just terrible.
Some of my friends who knew her are making shirts in honor of her to wear to school on tuesday.
Posted by AVHS grad, a member of the Walnut Grove Elementary School community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 7:18 pm
Growing up is very hard. Being in high school is very hard. I find it tragic that this child felt he/she had no other option but to take his/her life. This is a very sad day for everyone in our community - and especially those of us who survived our own high school suicide attempts. My heart goes out to everyone involved. Life sucks sometimes, but it always gets better.
Posted by AVHS Parent, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 7:25 pm
I want to underline what ptown native said. Why didn't anyone push her out of the way?!? My child knew the girl, that she was depressed and he also witnessed everything. He is torn up by this and does not need anyone suggesting that he was in any way responsible. She waved to the conducter and laid down on the tracks. The kids who witnessed this are victims as well.
Posted by Amador Family, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 7:34 pm
We love all our kids at AVHS and it is very tough on all of us when we lose one. Working with teenagers is exhausting and things like this make it even more difficult to deal with. We constantly ask ourselves if there was something we could have done? We teach because we want kids to succeed and be happy. Not so we can hear them hit by trains behind our classrooms. It's completely tragic and I can tell you that our hearts are breaking for this family and all the other students at Amador. Before we even knew a name so many faculty were just weeping and somber. They did a great job of keeping other kids away from the scene. I work with amazing people and your kids are lucky to have such caring adults. My only wish is that this young woman would have turned to one of us for comfort instead of doing such an impulsive thing.
Posted by avhs parent, a resident of the Danbury Park neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 7:35 pm
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of this young girl. She didn't realize that there were adults at AVHS (counselors, teachers) that she could have talked with to get help. If you feel overwhelmed, please let someone know.
Posted by anonymous, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 7:56 pm
This is to the person who posted that some of her friends were making shirts in honor of her. If it really was suicide, then you really shouldn't make shirts. Often times, this glamorizes suicide and encourages others to commit suicides as well. It would be better to pray for her family and friends, instead of making shirts. This was an awful event and we don't want it to happen again.
Posted by MainStreetDiva, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:00 pm MainStreetDiva is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
I don't understand why the PW removed my last post. I am trying again.
The Contra Costa Times has identified this student in an article on their web site. She was a freshman at Amador. So I am not sure why the PW is blocking her name at this point, since it has been published elsewhere.
My heart goes out to her family, her friends, and anyone who witnessed this tragic event.
Posted by dakota, a resident of another community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:02 pm
Can you please remove the post above asking why someone didn't stop this "by AVHS grad, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, 1 hour ago"? It leaves those who saw this tragedy feeling worse about an already horrifying experience. Bystanders of violence are also victims. Thank you. (please remove my post, as well.)
Posted by Please, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:06 pm
Please - may all send healing thoughts to not only this student's family and friends, but to the students, passerby, train operators who witnessed the event, and all who are grieving in Pleasanton tonight.
Please - let's end the recurrence of this sad, sad problem by working to find county and state funds to make Santa Rita/Main St. dip below and create an overpass for the train tracks, similar to the overpass on Bernal, similar to the overpass in Livermore?
Please - remove the temptation for our beloved young who are in despair, and remove the guilt that friends and passerby feel when they cannot intervene at the last moment...
Please - keep loving, keep hugging, keep our teens especially foremost in our hearts.
Posted by ptown native, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:07 pm
THANK YOU "AVHS parent." The few who witnessed it will forever have that picture imprinted on them. The fact that ANYONE is questioning why NO ONE tried to stop her is astounding. That compounds the guilt they will feel for the forseeable future... maybe forever sadly enough. STOP QUESTIONING THE WITNESSES!!! I can't find the post right now (probably due to my frustration with these people) but imagine the outcome if someone had tried to help and their shoe or who knows what had gotten caught in the track??? Would you be so quick to ask that question? I think not.
Again RIP and may the family be able to eventually only look upon the good times they shared.
Posted by ashley, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:08 pm
i've lost a friend to suicide almost two years ago, and i am still hurting. i hope that these kids find enough resources to give them the tools to heal. i feel terrible for any one who had to witness this tragic event. my thoughts are most of all, with the family.
Posted by Beverle, a resident of the Southeast Pleasanton neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:57 pm
My deepest condolences to the family of this young lady. How very tragic! Teenagers today are under extreme pressure and many seem to struggle with depression. Please teenagers, remember that there are adults all around you who are more than willing to open their hearts and their ears in times of trouble. Just reach out. I pray that Evelyn's family will hold close and cherish the wonderful memories I'm sure they have, of times with their beloved daughter, as they move through the grieving process. May God Bless You.
Posted by D W, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 8:59 pm
To all parents inside and outside of Pleasanton:
If you haven't already, please tell your kids that you love them very much and will always be there in times of need, especially when their education feels perilous or hopeless.
To those parents are struggling to get along with their kids, please put your egos aside, look in the mirror, and say, "Nobody is entitled to anything". Help your kids when they absolutely need to have it, especially when they act in an anti-life way. If you must say 'I love you', 'I understand', 'I feel for you', or any other sympathic/supportive expression, then please let out your chosen words. You may save more than a life; you may save their souls.
Posted by an old soul, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:03 pm
I can remember being a teen, I too tried to commit suiside, not once but twice. The first time I was just hurting , hurting so badly. A family member in a heated moment said something that just hurt me to the bone, I thought" I will show you, I will take myself out of this picture and you will be sorry"! I was. The second time, I just hurt, I was mad, angrey, life seemed so hard and nothing was going my way, I just wanted to make everyone pay and feel sorry. I have to say now 35 years later. I am glad I didn't succeed. Life is full of ups and downs! That is life.Without those downs and trying times we can never truly appreciate the ups and the good times. To any young person out there. This is not the answer. THere are so many times in life that you are going to want to just check out! Make a parent or someone pay for hurting you! End the pain.No matter what it is or how bad it is or how much it hurts your very soul it is never permanent. This too is only temporary. Nothing in life is ever permanent, Nothing is forever. I can guarantee you the pain will subside and watever the situation it too will change if only you have the courage stick it out. THere is so much more that life has to offer. THose hard times you will go through, and believe me they will come, they are there as a learning guiding tool for you to grow, better yourself and perhaps change something about your self, I don't know , but those tough times happen for a reason you just have to stick it out and figure out what it is you can learn from them. There is so much life has to offer you. Fun, Friends, Exciting new adventures that you cannot even begin to imagine life has in store for you at those very low moments. There are so many people you have yet to meet along the road you will travel, so many lives you will change, impact and perhaps a few new ones you will bring into this ever changing world. You have to be strong and just hold your head high through those trying moments. Life can and will beat you down. Your journey through this world is to leave a mark behind, better someone elses life. Help a stranger, take a lost childs hand and help them find their parent. There are so many little things you can do in your daily life that make a small difference to you but a huge difference to someone else in this world and it is a shame to see any one of you lost because you could not remember just how precious life" Your Life" is in the bigger picture. Suicide is never the answer!!! No matter how great and how unbearable your pain is at that very moment or even for a period of time it is never the answer. Suicide is a very permant end to a temporary condition.THere is always something new, better and bright just around the corner for you if you can only remember your life is not your own to take. You were put on this earth for a reason. You just have no other choice but to pull your self up and tredge on. So many people are waiting to meet you. So many people are waiting for that special something that only you can do for them. You owe it to your self and the future to just stick it out and there are so very many people who are willing to lend an ear and help you if only you will reach out and just ask. My heart and prayers go out to this young ladies family. I truly feel for your loss. God be with you.
Posted by AVHS Student, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:27 pm
Today our school buzzed with talk of suicide. I couldn't believe it. To me suicide wasn't real. I never believed it would happen. But that was just me being naive. Evelyn was a great friend and we'll all miss her so much. My heart aches because of her choice but all I can do is hope that she is happy and doing well wherever she is. Rest in peace Evelyn.
Posted by Engineer & Conductor Friend, a resident of the Kottinger Ranch neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:29 pm
I am a friend of a retired engineer and a retired conductor. They say that every person they know who has worked and retired from the railroad has had the absolutely horrible situation of hitting someone with the train. They are almost always unable to stop in time. There is too much weight and speed (even when going "slow" train speeds in certain areas). This is devastating to them and they remember it their entire lives. They go through all kinds of counseling. Many people unfortuately try to use trains as a way to end their lives. This leaves a wake of devastation for their family, friends and for those working on the trains. The engineers and conductors feel totally helpless and the pain of the accident remains with them their entire lives.
Much love and healing to all who witnessed this today and to her family and friends. My love and God's grace and blessing to Evelyn too.
Posted by Dad of a classmate, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:29 pm
My thoughts are with Evelyn's family. It appears she was a much liked person and ufortunately Evelyn chose not to attend her last class of the day; her classmates were wondering where she was as they had seen her earlier in the day - unfortunately we now know where she was. My prayers are with Evelyn's family, friends,classmates and teachers. My student is glad to have known her!
Posted by BG, a resident of the Sycamore Heights neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:33 pm
What a sad story. My friend of 30 years is a conductor for Cal Train. He is a grief counselor for Cal Train when there is an incident like the one we had today. He has also been on a train that was involved in a suicide. It's very hard for the crew on the train. Gunn high school has had 5 or 6 students take their own life in the past year. Lets hope that we don't have any more here.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of another community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 9:33 pm
would you people please stop talking about what time she got out! who cares if she ditched?! i guarantee the last thing her family or anyone close to her is thinking about is if she ditched! It is likely that in her familie's grief they may read these comments looking for comfort and I would think seeing such concern about what time she got out would be frustrating.
Posted by Dr. Matt Gomes, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:01 pm
I was one of the witnesses to this tragic event as I was waiting at the crossing while the train went by. I am still in shock by what I saw.
As a therapist, I urge all people -students and non-students alike - to talk to someone if they believe suicide is the only course of action. Suicide is a long-term solution to a temporary problem. If you think you are alone, you are mistaken. There are others who have experiences similar to yours. And, if you don't think so, there are those who at least want to listen and understand what you're going through.
If you EVER need to talk to someone, there are many resources for you. All you have to do is ask.
I have worked with a number of students. Some from Amador. If ANYONE (parents, administrators, etc) needs to process this tragedy or needs an ear for any other reason, feel free to call me.
I know helping someone else through this would also help me...
Posted by On Main, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:08 pm
I was driving North on Main, I'd say about 2:35-2:40 and the arms starting coming down, so I was stopped in front of the WF Bank.
Soon after the arms were down the train's engine appeared, so to pass the time, I started counting the cars (once there had been 100),.. 1, 2, 3, got to 19th approaching Main and then it all stopped! I wondered why it was stopping there & blocking the road. The whistle had been blowing the ENTIRE time. I wondered to myself, evidently the neighbors never got the whistle blocked. I didn't know they blew it solid without stopping. A P police car came racing up on the left side & stopped at the tracks...to put up yellow rope, I think. Then several cars at the track ahead of me turned East to go home on Stanley home like I did, also.
I sort of wondered at the time, since reading of that situation SO many times in Palo Alto. It happens everywhere, sadly. Several times I thought there seemed to be a whole lot of 'press' about the Palo Alto incidents....I wondered if there should have been so much publicity. Which is better, more or less. who's to say.
Posted by JR, a resident of the Danbury Park neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:24 pm
Bless you "an old soul" for sharing what you went through. That is the key "to get through". I believe you need to always be kind to people...especially the young. You may change a life with just a smile and a kind word. I think we tend to forget what it was like to be in the those struggling youthful years. Sometimes it looks like there is no way out, no hope. My heart breaks for all of those involved. Take this heartbreak and be kinder to those around you whether walking, living, long lines or in your cars.
Posted by unknown, a resident of the Vineyard Avenue neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:51 pm
I completely understand what it is like to be in high school and feel like it really cannot get any worse. It is hard being a teenager in many ways and you can feel out of control with your emotions at times. You feel so badly that you just want all of it to go away. The thing that I realized and everyone should realize is this hard time shall pass.It may not feel like it at the time but give it some time and it will. This time is temporary and it will get better or your pain will heal. Think of how much you have to live for and how much you will miss out on. I know people that have told me they thought about it in the past, and are so grateful they didn't. They would have missed out on the whole rest of their lives and all the wonderful things in it. This moment of depression or hard time is a speck in time on the scale of your whole life. You will live to look back on the situation and be thankful it over but be healed from the pain of it. There are many things you and others can do to improve your situation. I never thought I would get over the death of my father. I wanted to be with him so badly, but every month gets a little easier. It may take awhile but it will happen and you will be able to have a life that will make you happy. Please talk to your friends, family members, or anyone you can trust. Leaning on others to get you through this time will help the healing process progress much faster. This is true of any age. SUICIDE is a PERMANENT solution to a TEMPORARY problem. Please think of all your loved ones you would leave behind and how much you would miss them if they left you behind. I have children of my own and my heart is in pieces over this. I feel so sorry for her mother and father. Children are a parents most prize possession and no one without children can understand just how it feels to love something so much that it hurts. When they get the slightest injury, we hurt more. Broken hearts and mean kids kills us inside because we love them more than imaginable. Parents never want their kids to feel pain or hurt a minute in their lives. I know that her parents would have done anything for her, including sacrificing their lives to save hers. I can not even imagine what you are going through right now. I hope you have support and know that it is not your fault. I know you want her here with you. I feel the same about my father. I will be thinking of you for many years to come. I wish the best for you all that cared for her.
Posted by Pleasanton Community Member, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 10:55 pm
It deeply saddens me to hear that Pleasanton has lost ANOTHER high school student to suicide. As hard as it is to face, I believe the members of this wonderful community need to realize there is a problem going on. I did not know Evelyn Gonzales but I do know that many teenagers are feeling increasingly depressed and stressed. We all need to come together at this time to help our high school students, as well as other school children, realize that life is worth living. We need to increase education on the subject of suicide and offer help to students feeling sad. Together we can help prevent other students from becoming so unhappy and hopeless they feel the need to end their own lives. I hope the community can take this horrific death as a wake up call to understand that this has happened before and can happen again unless the adults of the community can intervene. As a recently graduated high school student of the Pleasanton school district I know personally about the affects of depression. I beg the school leaders and community members to invest time into helping this cause directly affecting EVERYONE in this community.
Posted by Jessica D, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:00 pm
It was Evelyn and it was suicide. She had biology last period and left early. Students did see this and try to stop her, but it was too late. She was my friend and an amazing one at that. RIP Evelyn <3<3
Posted by unknown, a resident of the Vineyard Avenue neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2010 at 11:03 pm
To the people condeming the witnesses for not pushing her out of the way or doing more:
1. If you are close to a train when it goes by, you WILL be sucked under or into the tracks. The force of the train is deadly even near it. Trying to push her out of the way or grab her would have ended in TWO deaths. I see where the thought of saving her seems like an easy thing to do, but in a train vs. person case, the train always wins. I know when you made your heartless comment you didn't think about what actually would happen and that many more would have died trying to save her.
2. If she was standing near the tracks and walked in front at the last minute, no one would have time to do anything. It sounds like it happened very fast and no one saw it coming. By your comment, you are making it sound like she was standing around on the tracks for a long time and no one did anything.
3. You were not there and have no idea what people were doing to try and save her. They could have been screaming at her and trying to pull her back before she got fateily close. You act like no one cared and just stood around to watch. I am possative the witnesses did not feel this way and did what they could without loosing their own lives.
4. I am sure if ANYONE who cared about her knew ahead of time, they WOULD have reported it. No one takes that lightly and keeps it to themselves. That is just typical high school gossip that no one prevented it even though they knew.
5. Who cares if she cut school or not. It sounds like she got out early just like all the other kids. The tragidy is her death and it matters in no way if she cut class or not.
6. I am so sorry the whitnesses had to see something so terrible. It is a life changing experience, seeing anyone die is, especially tragicly. Everyone should feel sorry for them, not blame them.
Let's pray for her family and that she may rest in peace. But let's not also unintentionally glorify or honor this truly unnecessary, desperate act, so that our teenagers realize that suicide is not a solution to any problem.
Posted by Emma AVHS Student, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:59 am
This is for her: You were a beacon of light in the worst situations. You gave good advice. You gave great hugs. You brought out the kindness in all. You were so funny. So amazing in many ways. I loved your blue hair. The way you didn't care about what people thought. The way you reached out to people in their times of need. The way your smile lit up a room. The way you were polite to adults. The way you'd do hilarious things and make everyone laugh! I loved your jewlery. The way your eyes lit up when you talked. That you would wave and say hi to me in the halls. The way we both used to sing together. How nice and thoughtful you were. You put others in front of yourself. I'm not going to ask why you did what you did because there could be millions of reasons. What im going to do is pray for your family, think about you constantly, and remember the good times. Because that is what really matters, right? I will always miss you, even though we we haven't been super close lately. But you were always nice and reached out to me anyways. Thanks for being someone who everyone loved. You made every moment that i spent with you so nice. I can't say goodbye. It wouldn't be right. Just know that everyone here is missing you. Wherever you are, be yourself and don't care. Because thats what all of us here want for you. Your awesome. :)
Posted by In Memory, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:17 am
After so many comments I have read on this site are pointing fingers at the unfortunate bystanders that witnessed this tragedy, I must say that the PW either needs a night time editor or to shut down comments during the later hours. No one that witnessed this can be held to blame and to even suggest this is horrible.
A young life was lost today and the focus should be on why this happened in a supposedly wonderful community like Pleasanton and how it can be prevented in the future.
Posted by Katie, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:41 am
I am an '09 graduate of amador. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. I have lost 2 friends to suicide both in the same year of 2007. Today's tragety brought back a lot of unwanted memories. To Evelyn's friends, you will never get over this, you can only get through it. My advice to you is to keep talking, share memories, funny stories, or a time when you remember her smiling. Yes you will always remember this day but the happy times over power this incident. When I lost one of my friends I felt horrible, I blamed my self, I blamed the police for not being there, I even blamed the conducter of the train, but what that did was only make things worse. Always remember that amador you have an entire suport team through the teachers and the staff. They love nothing more than to listen and help all of you. Please talk to them, find a teacher or a staff member that you trust and like and talk to them every day. That's how I got through high school and I'm hoping it will help all of you to het through this rough time too.
Posted by Tony, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 6:37 am
This news is deeply saddening, and unfortunately it is not the only time this has happened, My daughter is a classmate of Evelyn.
Lets get a group of interested parents and community leaders together and address steps we can take as a community to place signs, similar to those on the golden gate bridge, along with a phone that rings directly to a school counselor, perhaps some sort of video monitoring that would alert authorities or cue a message. We have got to let our kids know that some one cares
Posted by Parent, a member of the Pleasanton Middle School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 6:42 am
I have a teenage daughter in high school and I talk to her all the time and let her know how much I love her. Life would be unbearable withwithout her and she is here for a purpose. Teenagers don't always share their feeling with their parents, but more with their friends. Please tell your friends you love them, and how much you care about them and encourage them to talk whenever they are sad and depressed.
Posted by TI, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 7:17 am
To all the students that knew her: Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories of her. It sounds like she was a wonderful person and an awesome friend.
To those people who wrote about feeling guilty that they had lost contact or that maybe they could have done more: Please know that these feelings are normal. But you are not to blame.
To those that shared their own experiences with suicide:Thank you for sharing your painful insights and memories. It really helps those of us trying to cope with what has happened.
If you are deeply saddened or feel unable to cope, please know that you are loved. You are special and you do make a difference. No one will think differently of you if you share your feelings or ask for help. Some things are just too difficult to deal with on our own.
Posted by very concerned, a member of the Vintage Hills Elementary School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 7:58 am
We are all saddened and want to share our feelings. I am also afraid of this becoming a trend. The way this story is unfolding is unfortunately feeding into this, NPR recently ran a story (look up suicide clusters there) on ways to predict and prevent a cluster from developing. I didn’t know her well but I spoke with her at 1:00, she will not be forgotten. We now have to keep our teens safe, they are vulnerable to glorifying images, those who feel isolated and depressed need extra care right now. I’m sorry I couldn’t do more.
Posted by Sean, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 8:46 am
My friend and classmate, she had all of the available periods, and gets out at 3:09. She left early and the article is correct. I miss her so much I can't stand it, or sleep at night. She was a great person and this was a very unfortunate event.
Posted by Resident, a resident of the Las Positas neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:07 am
WHY are so many people concerned if she cut class. This seems like a very small issue here in the grand scheme of things.
A CHILD lost her life....I am by no means pointing fingers of blame however with that said, this is a prime example when parents allow children to grow up before they are ready. THIS is why 14 yr olds should not be allowed to date and have boyfriends, they are not emotionally ready to handle the responsibility of all that goes with a relationship. To think had she survived this there would have been a time when she was in her 30's and she would be laughing at how hung up she was on some boy. When you are 14 you see everything so in the moment.
Posted by avhs student, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:01 am
although i never knew evelyn, i remember seeing this girl around campus quite often. i am truly sad i never had the change to meet this girl. from the writings above i can tell she was a fun-loving, bright young girl. we will miss you and our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family <3
Posted by Clay, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:20 am
I was a student at amador until last year, and it was my one or two years ago that another teen did the same thing. Let's pray feverantly that God will intervene in the hearts of those considering suicide, as they tend to come in clusters. Let's also pray for the witnesses, who could be facing post traumatic stress disorder, the family and friends of this wonderful young woman, and the school as it has to now deal with the recoil of such a tragic event.
Remember to encourage your sons, daughters, and friends to always be open about how they're feeling. Make sure they know, without a doubt, that they are loved unconditonally. And if anyone EVER threatens suicide, let someone know. It's better to have an angry friend who is alive than a dead friend whose secret you kept.
And to those who are questionig the "what if's" and "why didn'ts" and the "this is why".. There aren't any answers for you, and there won't be. Let's support the community right now instead of criticising it.
Posted by EJ, a resident of the Kottinger Ranch neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:03 am
In response to KM's post .... in this case she did have class in 7th period ... she was in my dughter's choir class and was absent. During class a school official came to the classroom looking for her which leads me to believe that someone knew that there was something wrong. So yes ... she indeed leave school property early ... apparently without permission.
Posted by Monica, a resident of the Kottinger Ranch neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:08 am
The Pleasanton school district will make counselors available to students from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today in the Amador High school library, district spokeswoman Myla Grasso said. Counselors also will be available Tuesday, when students return to class.
Posted by H., a resident of another community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:11 am
I graduated from Amador last year. I remember when one of the students in my grade committed suicide. I had grown up with him, going to the same schools as him and having some classes together. One thing I know that is even though the Evelyn may be gone, she'll still live on in our lives. She will never be forgotten, but she'll live on in the stories that we tell and the memories that we had with her. Though I never knew her, I know for a fact she was a wonderful fun-loving girl and will be greatly missed. For the people that knew her well, continue to tell her stories so that she will live on in our hearts.
Posted by depressed student, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:20 am
i was in my 7th period class when i heard the long honk of the train
and i was wondering what happened and if someone got hit by the train,
and i was on my way to go see mrs brandon about my grades, and i heard mavro (a student) walking out with a walkie talkie saying someone just got hit by a train. and he asked me if i knew about it i didn't until i heard what he said the teachers counslers where running arond freaking out. one of my friends told the offaice to go to the tracks so little john, went to check it out when we found out it was a student. everyone after school was talking about it and in panic mood. and i kept hearing it was a freshman, it was a older woman, it was a little kid. i heard a lot. but it was a freshman. eveyln, me and my friends found out at jack in the box while trying to stay warm and clam down. when we found out it was evelyn by reading a myspace bulliten on someones phone. we all started to cry.
Posted by A, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:43 am
I was in Evelyns 7th period class. We had choir and Mr. Aubel was missing for a band event. When someone came into our class asking if Evelyn was present that's when we all became very worried. When one of our classmates heard about the train accident it was almost positive in our minds. Evelyn had been very sad lately. Her death is tragic and is going to effect our entire class. We miss her dearly and hope she is in a better place.
Posted by a member of the Pleasanton Community, a resident of another community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 11:47 am
Our teens have too much stress in their lives! We need to do something about this before more children take their lives or turn to drugs. Every time you turn on the news or read the paper, you hear about teens involved in tragic incidents or violence.
It is hard enough to be a teen without the additional burdens that teens have on them today. There is too much pressure on them. They receive far TOO MUCH homework and there are too many expectations put on our kids. Look at the requirements for college. Please parents and faculty, examine the pressures and expectations we are putting on our youth and DO something about it. Do not just talk about it. They are our future!
Posted by Toni, teacher and parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:10 pm
There is a great deal of pain in these blogs. For the sake of the family and most importantly, Evelyn, please keep blame and hurtful remarks out of this blog. Let this be a safe and welcoming place to post blogs.
You need a place to share, I understand, however keep the posts about only that, share your memories about Evelyn and let her rest in peace. May she finally be at peace. I have only fond and funny memories of this student and my message/prayer to you posting that in honor and memory of Evelyn, hug a friend, a child, or a parent today and remember why we can't let an event like this hurt more people than need be. God Bless.
Posted by Mike, a resident of Livermore, on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:13 pm
What an utterly disgusting, insensitive and ignorant comment to make, Dave. Although I'm sure you only posted your little comment to provoke a response.
If a person is in a state where they are even considering, let alone planning, to commit suicide, they must be experiencing a great deal of pain and distress. I speak from my own experiences with depression and thoughts of suicide to say that this level of pain and distress is far beyond the understanding of anyone who has not even come close to experiencing it. Now I don't claim to understand why she did what she did or what she was thinking/feeling other than what has been posted here, but you have no right to pass judgment on her because you don't either.
Show a little compassion for someone who must have been suffering a great deal. She was a human being and regardless of your opinion of her or what she did, she deserves nothing except respect.
Posted by Walter, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm
To whoever made a Facebook fan page of this:
When did anyone tell you it was okay to turn the death of a human being into hype and gossip? Did you ever ask the family if it was okay to post pictures and post her name all over the site as if this was some whimsical charade that caught your attention?
To everyone, especially you: Have some courtesy and sensitivity for the deceased and her family.
Posted by a concerned friend, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm
I never met Evelyn, but one of my best friends knew her. She was also best friends with one of my newer friends. To everyone who knew her- I am truly sorry about what happened, and I wish I could help.
Posted by jcr, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm
i was walking back to class from getting water from a water fountain, listening to my ipod. i heard the trains horn blaring, and i thought it was just part of the song. then it stopped, and this horible smell drifted just everywhere. when i went back to class everyone was either in shock, crying, or just plain freaking out. later on i found out it was evelyn. i saw a picture of her, and i remebered her. i had seen her face before. i knew her in middle school, and saw her in the mornings before school. i didn't know her on a personal level though, but i still knew who she was. i don't want to believe that one moment a girl has her life, and the next she's gone. may she rest in peace. she got what she wanted.
Posted by A, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:25 pm
I saw her crying after the rally and thought is was small like an animal dying or maybe boy troubles but I had to go back to class so I could not asses the situation very long. Later on in my 7th period choir class she wasn't there so we assumed she was sick and maybe she left for home. Then I heard the train sqeak and honk but didn't give it a second thought because it comes by everyday. Someone murmmered Evelyn and everyone went into a moment of panic. Texts where being recieved by everyone in the class and the announement was made again. But we calmed down hoping it wasn't Her or anyone at all. So after school rumors flew saying it was a jogger an older lady a small child and upperclassmen. But I didn't get worried until my friend walked up to me sobbing and said she watched her leave and she didn't know she was going to acctualy do it, assuming it was all talk and that she was going to go strait home to rest and relax for the weekend after her rough day. Something told me she was the one besides the rumors it all made perfect sense with all of the information her close friends that she said goodbye to were telling me. It just seems so un real like it's a bad dream that I can't wake up from. But I am deeply upset being Ive talked and hugged her occationaly and it will be different not seeing her everyday and I truely hope she is in a better place now. My thoughts are with her family and friends
Posted by EMS worker, a resident of another community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 1:50 pm
My heart goes out to the mother and father of this young lady. Everyone loses out on this and will live with it in their hearts forever. This will be a change for everyone. God be with you all who knew this woman. I pray for the students, teachers and staff of AV, as well as the district.
Someone asked about the helicopters overhead earlier... that was a seperate incident... an asphalt fire near the rock quary.
Someone had complained about others mentioning her name: Please understand these are children trying to express themselves the best they know how. This is not a news agency with professional journalists who know better...
Posted by Manonash, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 2:14 pm
[Portion removed because it referred to a posted that was removed]
I appreciate Mike's empathy for Evelyn; on the other hand, I think Dave has a valid point, even though it could of course be more sensitively and lovingly expressed. The tragedy that everyone feels in a circumstance like this comes from the sense of the vast, open-ended potential of a young life. No matter how dark things might seem at the moment, it is a certainty that anyone, with courage and detemination, can turn her life around and make it a source of joy and fulfillment to herself and others. I do not say this with any judgment of Evelyn. I did not know her, and I don't pretend to know her circumstances. For her I feel only sorrow. Rather, I say it because I am concerned for those she has left behind, especially her friends and other peers.
You can make your life what you want it to be. It takes hard work, courage, and determination. There will be setbacks and there will be pain. But in the end, you get what you accept. Dream a big dream and don't settle for less. Don't give up. There is no power in heaven or earth that can stop you from achieving your dreams if you are determined, and patient, and considerate of others, and willing to take the counsel of your own latent inner wisdom. You are meant to be happy!
Posted by Jan, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 2:29 pm
It is my understanding that the police are removing any flowers or cards that are left at the train tracks. A few of us parishioners and Amador students left flowers and messages at a tree at St Elizabeths (on Stoneridge). Anyone who feels that they would like to leave flowers or messages is welcomed to do so as well.
Posted by Monica, a resident of the Kottinger Ranch neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 2:54 pm
This was posted on Evelyn Gonzales R.I.P. Facebook page by a family member:
There will be a candlelight vigil tonight at 6:30 on the (Amador H.S.) track for Evelyn Gonzales. It would be greatly appreciated if you went to support her family and friends. (please tell as many people as possible) Thanks!
Posted by Dr. Matt Gomes, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 4:16 pm
I don't think it's necessary to describe the details of her afterwards. Unless there's a really good reason for it (which might be that it would deter others), noone else needs to be haunted with that vision... Seeing it will be with me for the rest of my life...
Posted by emanon, a resident of another community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 4:22 pm
Two stories involving schools were on yesterday's news.
At Will C. Wood middle school in Alameda, a boy was found carrying a loaded .38 pistol, which belonged to his uncle and he presumably stole, as well as several knives. His motivation was self-protection against another boy who'd been bullying him since last spring.
In Pleasanton, just a little ways away from Amador Valley High School, a freshman girl walked out in front of a Union Pacific freight train in an apparent suicide. It was somewhat before the end of the school day, and so she probably was not surrounded by the usual crowds of students coming or going along Santa Rita Road where it happened.
Because both victims were minors, not a lot of detail has come out in the news, but it doesn't take much speculation to grasp the human misery that must have engulfed them both. Elsewhere in the Weekly is considerable coverage of possible further staff cuts in an already financially-strapped school system. Pleasanton has historically been a place where families went out of their way to move, so their children could get a superior education, as was Alameda, at least when I taught there.
The debate about whether one day's students have it worse than other generations is never settled, but there is no question that every generation has needed some sort of sympathetic shoulder outside the home to deal with the buffeting forces of growing up. For at least the half-century that I've been aware of the politics within school districts, it's those very support services in schools that are considered expendable by the axe-wielders.
I certainly hope this is kept in mind in the coming days of contemplating these tragedies.
Posted by student, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 4:57 pm
In honor of Evelyn Gonzales, who committed suicide yesterday on the Pleasanton railroad tracks, we are holding a Candlelight Vigil at 6:30p.m. today (February 20). It has been okay-ed by the school, and police. We would appreciate it if you would attend (and bring candles if you have any) and tell as many of your friends as possible. There will be a station where you can write letters/send cards to Evelyn's family. Please come to support Evelyn's friends and family. Thank you, and we hope to see you there!
Posted by Natalie, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm
(Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff) I am deeply sadden by this great loss. I saw her before 7th period walking to my next class and she seemed happy, but if you knew her you would know she was always happy. I will continue to pray for Evelyn. RIP.
Posted by olivia baeza, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 6:29 pm
I am so very sadden by this news. My son sat next to her in one of his classes and said she was a nice girl and seemed okay. I would love to see our community reach out to this family during this difficult time and assist them in any financial way as possible to make sure she is remembered by all at Amador. Peace be with her and all the lives she touched .
Posted by Barbara T., a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 6:31 pm
I wish the school would be as compassionate about the AVHS students still living. Yes you will probably see staff at the vigil, and yes they will appear sympathetic. Come next week, however, it will be business as usual - (Comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as innuendo, hearsay or specific accusatory information unsupported by facts.)
Posted by Trish, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 6:35 pm
I haven't heard great things about the AVHS staff and school. I wish everyone, including students, were as vocal about this poor child. I have know idea where the problems she held in came from (Comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as innuendo, hearsay or specific accusatory information unsupported by facts.) Whatever she went through, RIP. I hope her death was not in vain and that a more professional environment is demanded by the parents and students of this problem school.
Posted by Kyle, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 6:35 pm
What I find sad is that with all the "resources" available to students, that not a single one of her teachers noticed anything was wrong with her when she killed herself not 30 minutes after sitting in class.
(Comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as innuendo, hearsay or specific accusatory information unsupported by facts.)
Posted by Beverly Jameson, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 6:45 pm
Good point about the resources available to students. If they feel suicidal, teased, or picked out, who are they going to see? Do they just interrupt a counselor or can they go directly to Mr. Coupe if nobody else is "available?" Teasing is a big part of this campus society. If someone is bullied either physically or verbally, you are given the "choice," as Mr. Sira calls it, to do nothing, lash out, verbally or physically (in which case you will be found as guilty and serve a sentence of Saturday school, suspension, or being expelled). (Comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as innuendo, hearsay or specific accusatory information unsupported by facts.)
Posted by James, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 6:49 pm
Kyle, you speak of something that is beyond your thought, and only little wit can excuse you. people who have suicidal thoughts don't always manifest them on the outside. they don't wear signs around their neck that says "I'm suicidal". thats why so many people who knew this girl are shocked that she did this- they had no idea. its not from a lack of knowledge or caring or resources.
if not one of her closest friends suspected this might happen, how could you expect a teacher or school administrator to know or guess? don't strike out at others in your sadness with cruel and thoughtless comments.
Posted by Latissa LaPont, a resident of the Castlewood Heights neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 6:59 pm
Blaming someone for a child's apparent suicide is not what's being presented here. (Comment removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as innuendo, hearsay or specific accusatory information unsupported by facts.) I would bet that at least someone saw a disturbed child yesterday and said nothing (Shame on you.) There is obviously not attention being paid to children who die in this manner. With eight hours a day spent at school, that is a lot of opportunity for a teacher or administrator to notice something - but only if they want to get involved and help.
Posted by brenda, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 7:12 pm
Not everyone who commits suicide posts a advertisements right before it happens. The decision to die in this manner is oftentimes a thought process that takes days, weeks, or months. Sometimes people think that a person's comments about suicide (and we don't know for sure if in this case these comments were made)are a joke or just a fleeting thought. In general many of us don't take seriously the disturbing comments we might hear. Everybody receives this information differently, so no student is expected to be trained in this area. Teachers and staff (hold on to your jets; I'm not blaming anyone) are trained, however, to not only pay attention to changes in behavior but to address them in a productive manner. Yes, I know there are a lot of students at this school and a teacher can't be expected to notice everything about everyone. It is disturbing to even think that this girl went through a whole day at school and didn't feel she could go to not even one adult to discuss her feelings. Again I don't have the facts, just thinking of the possibilities and the way someone could have saved her life. I don't want to offend anyone's postings, and I don't think that criticizing someone else's thoughts here is productive. Let people say what they want. Maybe someone should have told this little girl the same.
Posted by Tawny, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 7:30 pm
I am happy to hear everyones' comments here, painful, blameful, or otherwise. Nobody should be restricted from any of these comments. I see nothing here disrespectful. Okay if you want to be phony and not say what's on your mind or hear the truth, you should be the first one to sign off. Any proposition to restrict speech is one of our biggest problems. How do we even begin to communicate if all someone wants to hear is blessings and nice thoughts. This is a tragedy that we are trying to prevent from reoccurring. Communication is the key. Keep on talking you guys! Let it out and feel better.
Posted by RIP evelyn, a member of the Harvest Park Middle School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 8:05 pm
I knew evelyn as a 7th grader when she was in eighth grade, i cant believe she is actually gone i was extremley excited to see her next year...rest in peace evelyn see you soon :]
And to the person who said not to write on her facebook cause her parents wont like it, not about what her parents like or not like, If evelyn was still here with us she would have loved that everyone wrote a little something about her on facebook and memories and pictures
Posted by sophmore, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 8:21 pm
i went to the candle light today, and as soon as the lady began to speak spanish and talk about evelyn, i broke down in tears. yet i didnt even know evelyn. its so sad to think she felt so alone and felt so unloveled she would do this, i hope shes in heaven and that she is happier. my thoughs and prayers go to her family, especially to her mother and father.
Posted by Ann, a resident of the Del Prado neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 8:31 pm
What could possibly be so bad that someone, anyone, esp a young person would contemplate suicide. There are so many pressures in todays society, that sometimes it can seem overwhelming, but suicide is not the answer. For anyone who maybe depresssed there is a suicide prevention hotline, talk to your counselors, teacher, parent.
Get Help! There are many people who love you and care!
How sad for this little girl and her family, I couldnt imagine having to deal with this. May she rest in peace.
Posted by M, a resident of the Val Vista neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:14 pm
I think the school should have the help hotline number posted around the school and in all the classes,
leave it there at all time. Provide monthly/weekly evening support group for the students. Lets not allow this girl death be in vain! Its a wake up call and Pleasanton community needs to come together as a village.
Posted by Dr. Matt Gomes, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:24 pm
Eileen: I really feel disrespected by your comment. My priority as a therapist - especially in this situation - are people's mental health. The reason I started a non-profit that focuses on mental health is to offer low-cost services to the Tri-Valley area. I was VERY careful not to even come close to looking like I was banking off of this tragedy.
As a witness to what happened, I knew I needed to talk about what I was experiencing with someone so I can begin to heal. I offered an ear to anyone who needed it - one caring human to another - and, if necessary, to offer resources in the community if longer-term care is needed.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:31 pm
I believe the superintendent and principal should be replaced immediately.
I am alarmed that a young girl was able to leave campus unnoticed by the school administration and that this student posted she was suicidal on the internet, which was also unnoticed by the school administration.
Also, one of the prior students from two years ago that committed suicide also posted online that she was suicidal, which was also unnoticed by the school administration. I am also looking at the postings from students during that time Web Link and see that a student states: (Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)
Village High is located on the same campus as the superintendent.
There is a serious problem happening in this school system.
Posted by R U Serious, a resident of the Bordeaux Estates neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:44 pm
Parent - Amador Valley has 2500 students. you think that the administration can watch everyone of them when they leave campus! Kids jump fences, and get out somehow if they really want. Maybe you should volunteer to watch all the exits. Please stop the blame game.
Posted by Dave, a resident of San Ramon, on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:00 pm
To Unknown, 22 hours ago. You might be sucked under a bullet train, but not not these freight trains, the myth that you can be sucked under a train actually pre dates high speed trains. Think about, if you could be sucked under the train, how come the rocks stay on the ground? I was born and raised on the track side of jensen street and played along side the trains as a child, trust me, there is no vacuum power.
Posted by Gary Schwaegerle, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:19 pm Gary Schwaegerle is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
This is a Tragic senseless loss, it is to sad. What pressures could drive someone to such extreme, this is where the Faith Community can help bridge the gap. Sincerest Condolences to Friends & Family Gary Schwaegerle
Posted by a parent, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:21 pm
I have a freshman who was a long-time good friend of Evelyn's. She had that knack, of making and keeping friends. She was a good friend to many people. My student's last class of the day is 6th period and we were caught in the back-up coming back up Main. My student immediately left town with some friends for the long weekend. I dread telling my child about Evelyn. My thoughts and prayers are with Evelyn's parents and brother.
There's a lot of hurt and lashing out on this board. But we all need to remember that hindsight is 20:20. It isn't the school administration, staff or teacher's fault. We are now aware of teen depression and suicides in a way we weren't in the 1970's and 80's. What we need to do now is to help our students come to terms with this, and make sure our students know where they can turn for help. I like the idea of having the suicide hotline number posted around the high schools. Maybe a list of resource numbers in each of the bathrooms, library and food areas.
Posted by No Blame, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 20, 2010 at 10:30 pm
My heart goes out to her family and those close to her. I am saddened that people on this link are throwing blame around. There is no one to blame. Even if she had talked to friends, family and counselors, there is no guarantee that she wouldn't have hurt herself. Moving the tracks is a crazy idea - how long have they been there and how many trains pass without problems? If the train wasn't available something else would have been.
Her death will affect many in different ways...a family lost a beloved daughter, niece, sister; friends lost a someone they were going through life with; the train conductor who saw her in harms way and was powerless to stop the train in time; others who may have been with her that were also probably unaware of what she was going to do and then had to witness the horror.
How dare people throw blame around. This whole event is tragic and so many will feel the effects for years to come. Stop throwing blame around and talk to your kids - let them know you love them - let them know that nothing that is going on in their young life is worth ending it.
Posted by Junior, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 21, 2010 at 12:30 am
You say the Pleasanton has too many suicides. [Portion removed] we live in pretty pretty pony land were nothing bad happens. We've had 4 suicides in the past 3-4 years. Do you know how many people commit suicide every day in Oakland or Fremont?
You should feel thankful that we've only had that many people commit suicide.
Posted by M., a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:37 am M. is a member (registered user) of PleasantonWeekly.com
There is no need to play the blame game regarding this tragic event. It saddens me that this young woman felt she had no other way out of the crisis she was most clearly engulfed in. Yet instead of addressing the real questions that this kind of an event brings up we sit and accuse anyone and everyone of wrong doing, or negligence. It is time to be realistic; kids always have and always will be able to leave their school's campus without being noticed. This will never change. To call for the removal of the school's leadership is yet another example of people's overreaction and irrational demands upon their social institutions and fellow citizens.
If anyone is to blame for this, it is all of us.
In Our society suicide and death are such taboo subjects that we do not properly address them. We do not effectively educate our young in what they should do if they have a friend who is clearly in crisis, who may be in jeopardy, who needs help. We will not even talk about the subject in an objective useful way, we only marginalize, sweep under the rug, use fear and intimidation to deter, and when it inevitably happens in our communities we play the blame game. We never look at ourselves and ask the real question.
What did I do to try and prevent this kind of thing from happening?
We do not ask this question or questions like them because we know that we did nothing.
It is our society, our community, each and every one of us that failed this young woman, and countless others, not her friend's, nor her teachers, school leaders, or her family. We are all to blame for this, and until we make the needed chances in dealing with people in crisis the burden of guild will rest firmly upon our shoulders.
Posted by Gary, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:42 am
My heart felt prayers and thoughts to all AVHS students, teachers, and families, such a loss. Everyone has something special to bring to the world, if today is not your time, then it will be in the future. If you see a friend in need and do not feel you know how to help, please let someone know. You can do so anonymously with a note left for a school counselor or minister who may be able to make the difference.
Students please note,
I am an Amador grad from many years ago, I was not popular in HS. A computer geek who had one date in HS, my JR Prom (she was from another HS and she only went because she was trying to find a guy she had met before). But, my HS struggles were not permanent. In my 20's I dated a TV star and a miss Universe contestant. At my 25th Amador Reunion I was voted most changed since HS. I have been personally successful and I have a great son, who won USA gold medals in his sport and is a HS student himself. Life has been bad at times and great at times... but today does not control your tomorrow.
Parents, I have read from others and want to echo, I took this time to talk with my son about this tragedy in depth. To let him know I am here and who else he could use as resources if he has need. To hug him and tell him how special he is to me and others. Talked about the transient nature of high school challenges, and how great the changes in the next few years will be for him.
Again, my thoughts and prayers to all in the community. - Gary AVHS '78
Posted by P-town Mom, a resident of the Laguna Vista neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 2:05 am
This is such a horrible, violent tragedy. The aftermath for those left to deal with this is tremendous. Please seek out someone to talk to in the coming weeks and months. Having raised my sons to adulthood, I remember the agony of teenage life even in Pleasanton. When our children hurt, we need to stick together as a community and not be vicious to each other. I send my deepest condolences to this young lady's family. Words cannot express your immense loss.
Posted by Raised in P-town, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:50 pm
I had a friend in the late 70's at Amador take her life in 84 or 85 on the Pleaseanton train tracks. I had a college and close family friend take his life two years ago through an overdose. Train tracks, guns, pills, etc. are not the issue. I don't pretend to have an answer, but as a society, we have failed to listen and take action...
Posted by Jillian Olvera, a resident of the Stoneridge neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm
i was a friend of evelyns from 3rd to 6th grade. i used to live in pleasanton but when i moved evelyn and i and lost touch. when i heard about this i was completely shocked ): she was so nice and fun i cant believe this happened to her. we will miss you evelyn you will never be forgotten! <33 RIP
Posted by Former Amador Student, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm
I was a student at Amador in the 70's and we had our share of kids that committed suicide. Every decade, every generation has had the same, but no one has ever tried to blame the principals or superintendents until now. Typical, Birdland. Shame on you.
Posted by P.M., a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 21, 2010 at 4:40 pm
The heard that Evelyn took a quiz and handed in her homework on Friday which says to me that this was not a "planned" act. If it were, why bother to hand in your homework or take a test? Why not cut school for the entire day?
I knew Evelyn and she was always surrounded by friends -- so I find it difficult to believe she felt that she had "no friends". If you read her facebook page you would see proof of that! Lots of positive comments and lots of happy pics of Evelyn with friends.
I feel that sometimes suicide is an act of "I'll show you!" or "I'll make you regret that you ever stopped loving me!" Unfortunately, I feel this deliberate act was aimed at the young man she and been dating for the past two years and had recently broken up with. It's an angry passive/aggressive act! My heartfelt sympathy goes to the young man and Evelyn's family because unfortunately the reaction & regret that Evelyn could have been looking for, will never be seen by Evelyn. But the aftermath of this selfish act will not be easily forgotten by the family & friends that she left behind. It's an insult to them that she cared so little for their feelings & the love they had for her.
Yes, it was a tragedy....and I do care that she is no longer with us...but I'm also kind of disappointed with her.
My heartfelt sympathy & prayers go to her parents, family, and the AVHS/HPMS/Mohr community that did care for Evelyn. It's just so sad!!
Posted by S, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 8:15 pm
The two groups I feel sorry for are her parents and the two people driving that train. As a former engineer I can tell you how helpless you feel when that happens. All you can do is blow your horn and hit the emergency brakes and even then you can't stop in time. All you can do is sit there and do nothing. It takes a train at least a 1/4 mile to stop and usually longer. Also, everyone is acting like this is the first time in Pleasanton. This has happened many of times throughout the years here, nothing new. Pleasanton needs to wake up and not think they live in a bubble. Things like this happen everyday in this country. Hopefully a lesson can be learned from all of this. By the way in my time as an engineer, I have had to go through this 3 times and it sticks with you for the rest of your life.
Posted by student, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm
"P.M." , author of the post a few above mine, you disgust me. You obviously have no idea what it is like to be so depressed as Evelyn must have been to commit such a devastating act. I have been at that point myself, and one of the reasons you reach the breaking point is because you have been keeping it all bottled up inside. Her appearing normal and turning in her homework are no indicator of how she was actually feeling on the inside. It could have been her putting in one last try to live her life.
suicide, as viewed from the outside, is a selfish act. but not when you are the one living it. she probably felt terrible about what she was she was going to do, as many people who have attempted suicide can claim. but the feeling inside is so hopeless that everything else fades into the darkness that begins to surround your life. it is incredibly insulting to condemn this young girl's actions then pretend to have sympathy for her family and friends. do not be so incredibly judgmental.
Posted by mom, a member of the Fairlands Elementary School community, on Feb 21, 2010 at 8:30 pm
Rest in peace sweet heart, I have been thinking over and over in my head what if i was standing next to you or close by, I see myself grabbing you and holding you as the train passed by. I am a mom and I know my world would come to an end if i was notified my child took thier own life. The world is full of obstacles and heartaches, but it will make us stronger. 14 is too young to think there is no way out
Posted by TI, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:32 pm
To student of another Pleasanton Neighborhood: you explained yourself so well. Thank you for sharing. It totally makes sense of this senseless act.
To mom: I feel like you. I keep thinking about the what if? It's a bad nightmare and I feel terrible that her last moments on earth was one of being so alone. I can't stop crying. On the other hand we need to be vigilant for others. I know what a difference it makes to talk to someone who is caring and is willing to help you. This has happened before. What are we going to do about it???
Posted by Pleasanton Mother, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:27 pm
We are all so busy with our family, careers, and lives that at times it may not be easy to spot someone who is in need of help, especially if they don't want you to see it. Today's teen has so much pressure on them to excel in school, succeed in the future, and worry about wars around our world.
I have first hand knowledge that Harvest Park Middle school and Foothill High school have groups that meet once a week for teens who need to talk. I encourage all parents to contact your child's Counselor to see if there is a program provided. Sometimes your child might not feel comfortable speaking with you and they need to know that it's okay to find an outside source. Our children are so afraid to disappoint us by admitting they may have a problem they can't deal with. Encourage them to find a group, relative or friend that they can speak with. Let your daughters and sons know everyday how much you love them and hug them even if they don't want it, because deep down they crave a parents love.
Evelyn was a beautiful, friendly girl that was always rockin' a fashionable hairdo. She was a classmate and friend of my daughter and will be very missed. May you finally have the peace that your heart and soul was searching for.
Posted by To 'S", a resident of the Avila neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:46 pm
To "S": if it takes a train at least 1/4 mile to stop, how soon would the engineer have sounded the horn upon seeing someone in or near the tracks? How much time would someone have had to grab Evelyn or push her out of the way?
Posted by S, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 10:57 pm
Here is your answer to how soon the horn is blown. This is right out of the rule book. Also an engineer will blow its horn anytime they see someone on or to close to the tracks.
On April 27, 2005, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), which enforces rail safety regulations, published the final rule on the use of locomotive horns at highway-rail grade crossings. Effective June 24, 2005, the rule requires that locomotive horns be sounded at all public grade crossings at least 15 seconds, but not more than 20 seconds before entering a crossing. This rule applies when the train speed is below 45 mph (70 km/h). At 45 mph or above, trains are still required to sound their horn at the designated location (usually marked with a whistle post).
The pattern for blowing the horn remains two long, one short, and one long. This is to be repeated as necessary until the lead locomotive fully occupies the crossing. Locomotive engineers retain the authority to vary this pattern as necessary for crossings in close proximity, and are allowed to sound the horn in emergency situations no matter where the location
RULE 14 (l) * – – o – Trains or engines approaching public highway grade crossings shall sound the horn for at least 15 seconds, but no more than 20 seconds before the lead engine enters the crossing. Trains or engines traveling at speeds greater than 45 mph shall begin sounding the horn at or about, but not more than, one-quarter mile (1,320 feet) in advance of the nearest public crossing. Even if the advance warning provided by the horn will be less than 15 seconds in duration. This signal is to be prolonged or repeated until the engine or train occupies the crossing; or, where multiple crossing are involved, until the last crossing is occupied. 2. Approaching tunnels, yards, or other points where railroad workers may be at work. 3. Passing standing trains
Posted by Melissa, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 11:11 pm
My thoughts are with this young girls family and friends. As some one already stated, i also lost a friend to suicide on the train tracks! i wish this town and people in the high schools would just come together and be a family! Its so hard to know that someone so young is gone. I can only imagine how everyone is feeling! im soo sorry for all of you who had to witness this and hear it! and for those who are dealing with the pain of losing a friend! My thoughts and prayers are with u!
Posted by A Mom, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 11:49 pm
This tragedy reminds me how fragile we all are and how much we need each other. May humanity and courage direct us to take the time and reach out to those we see in need.
Evelyn's death is a great loss to the Community, she was our daughter, our sister; it takes a village, we are all connected. Let us lift each other up with empowerment not tear each other down. May each passing day hold ways to cope with what seems unfathomable. May Evelyn's Family feel our love and know that we share their grief.
Posted by Accident recon guy, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2010 at 11:59 pm
(actually former Pleasanton Valley)
Some additional thoughts. For those looking for who are angry and placing blame, try to spend your energy ministering to others who are in pain by this tragedy. I think this will help you release your feelings in a more constructive manner. Your finger pointing in public hurts more people than it helps.
To the "save her from the train mathematicians" you are wasting your time... but here are some realistic thoughts that should make you stop this silly line of conversation ... Braking times and horn sounding times are hard to use starting from the trains position as you do not know how far away the train was when she laid on the tracks. But working backwards we can guess some of those variables: Someone wants to get hit by the train. How do they know it is coming... by the horn!?!, so by the rules above when she started there was 20 seconds or less. Perception reaction standard is 1.5 seconds and then she runs out and lays down +4 seconds. 5.5 seconds gone. You see this, perception reaction +1.5 seconds. If you are standing behind the gate line you are at least 25 feet away. It would be about +4 seconds to get there and stop. IF (BIG IF) she is willing to go with you, or you are big enough to move her even if she fights, say another +2 seconds to stand (or lift) and +2 to get beyond the path of the train... I would say best case 10 seconds on the save idea. At 40mph that train covers 586 feet or two thirds of a football field. Remember your 10 seconds started her 5.5 seconds which started after the first sounding of the horn. Above the standard gave you 15-20 seconds from the first sounding of the horn.
Realistically if you figure in that she probably did not move at the first sound of the horn, you hesitating, you trying to estimate the train's speed before you start, her fighting, you will truly expect to need 5 more seconds minimum. We are now at 20.5 seconds. The train is more than 1200 feet away and has not even sounded it horn yet by above rules SOOOO!!!! The bottom line, probably the hero, specially if it was a 14year old friend, would have died on the track too.
Again spend your time ministering to those in pain from this, or talking with a positive supportive attitude to the teens around you so they will be more likely to be more open with you.
Posted by Just Me, a resident of the California Reflections neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 2:01 am
Please remember the family, friends, conductors, and pedistrians at the tracks.......Evelyn's pain is over, thier's has just begun.
Please no teasing those that continue to cry....there is no timeline for pain like this to go away, but one day it will fade....(some)
Please listen to your child, student, friend, sister, brother....they may say something that might trigger a "feeling" in you to get involved......to ask questions.....
Please do not lay blame on anyone without truly knowing the reason...
Please tell your kids that you love them....that its okay if they don't do better then the next guy or girl....as long as they try...be satisfied with that.
Please remember that the staff at Amador Valley High School are people too...they are not robots that have no feelings for thier students....Evelyn's teachers are going to have it tough too...remember this
Please remember 911 in that tragic event how we were united together as Americans....let this tragic event unite us as P-Town friends and family and do 14 good deeds in Evelyn Gonzalez's honor...the age she left us
Posted by another mom, a resident of the Pleasanton Meadows neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:00 am
this tragic event really hurts me and I am deeply sorry for evelyn's parents and friends, they feel so hurt and helpless. It is no ones fault. kids do what they want to do no matter how much they are loved, talked to by counselors etc. I guess I am relieved in some sort of strange way my daughter chose drugs and alcohol to ease her pain of growing up. she carried a picture of her friend who committed suicide (village h.s.) in her car for years. and yes, I wish the train wasn't so conveniently close to the high school - sometimes 5 min. of settling down your head can make a real difference.
My heartful condolences and please keep hugging your kids no matter how old they get (mine is now going on 20yrs.)
Posted by Lynn Gatehouse, a resident of the Jensen Tract neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:03 am
Many people with mental illness suffer in silence, masking their pain. Even highly trained professionals have difficulty diagnosing and treating mental illness. For example, those with bipolar disorder can seem to others to be the happiest, most fun-loving people you know if they are in a manic period. Then, depression hits and there is no telling how low their mood can go. A truly depressed person doesn't have the ability to think things through logically. They just want the pain to go away... Whatever it takes.
It is pointless and painful to place blame. I strongly disagree with the people who posted the disparaging remarks about the school climate and staff at Amador Valley High School and the others who have blamed the bystanders for failing to save the student. You don't know.
We need to learn from this tragedy. We need to notice when a person's "bad mood" lasts for two weeks or more, we need to become better listeners, we need to avoid being judgmental and we need to help our children to manage their time and stress more effectively. We need to get to know their friends.We need to accept our children for who they are and help them to follow their own dreams instead of imposing our own dreams upon them. We can't be afraid to be parents - we need to set limits, to say no and to love them unconditionally.
My thoughts and prayers are with beautiful Evelyn, her adoring family, friends, classmates and the entire Amador Valley and Pleasanton community. We have lost one of our beloved children. May she rest in peace.
Posted by annonymous, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:10 am
I was always concerned at the railway crossing so close to the school. As a parent of a 14 year old, we know our kids are going through mood swings, teen issues and on/off depression. Can the residents of pleasanton/tri-valley put forth more stringent train timings/monitorings during school hours. This is a tragedy I wish could be avoided, yes kids are going to go through their emotional up and down but I agree with the previous poster - sometimes when something like this is not as convinient, maybe they can think it a bit more and this can be avoided somewhat.
Posted by Elizabeth, a resident of the Pleasanton Valley neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:16 am
The sad, helpless feeling that we all feel can be replaced with a new caring and compassionate attitude. Collectively as a community, and individually as families, let our communications be positive and constructive. Don't let a single individual walk by without eye contact and a kind expression. Take more time to care for family and neighbors. People are more important than things. Try not to be so tied up in ones self. I have found letting go of myself allows me to see others and their needs. Serving people and community brings a heeling spirit to all. Hopefully our schools, our city our churches will all work together in a constructive positive way. There is power and strength in forgetting to blame and moving on with love to mend and build a stronger Pleasanton.
Posted by Angelica, a member of the Pleasanton Middle School community, on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:38 am
I'm an 8th grader at Pleasanton Middle School, and I was at Colorado during this time, and my friend texted me saying her friend commited suicide, I didn't believe it at first, then I called her and she was in tears, too many people are taking their lives for something they just need to forget about. RIP
Posted by sam, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm
i feel so bad 4 her. my friends are friends of hers and and this makes me feel so bad and realize what it would be like if i committed suicide. RIP Evelyn. Hope you're happier now. Now matter how bad life may seem, it's always worth living for.
Posted by former birdland resident/former AVHS graduate, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 12:16 pm
I am appauled to hear someone say that the administration, and the superintendent should be fired over this incident. You state that the administration should have know that the girl posted online plea for help and the staff at AVHS did nothing about it. Amador Valley High School has aprox. 2,000 students. How is someone on a daily basis supposed to check all sites that a student visits, when should the superintendent be notified of a website that a child visits. I am currently an educator, and it is impossible to tell if a teenage is having a good or bad day, the mood changes from moment to moment. The school staff is there to educate, not police what the students write on social networking sites.
No one stopped this, because nobody realized the hurt and the pain that was in her heart. This is a terrible experience for family, friends, and staff members at the school. Prayers and thoughts are with the family at this sad time
Posted by tj, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 22, 2010 at 4:01 pm
Response to the commenter who feels such disappointment in Evelyn:
I appreciate your comments. I understand how you feel... I really do. And it is true that many times a thought of suicide is infused with anger, frustration and an "I'll show them" mindset, but that is nothing more than a poignant indication of just how unclearly the person is thinking at the moment. Attention getting? Also a symptom; not a character flaw. Teenagers can be SO impulsive... things snowball, and they do not physically or mentally have the skills/experience to cope -- which is exactly why so many teens need extra protection. Studies show that the human brain doesn't develop the ability to fully engage in impulse control until age 25! Clearly this little girl didn't have the support and ability to "think this through", because if she did, I have absolutely NO doubt that she would NOT have done this. I understand being angry about the pain everyone is feeling--even those of us who didn't know her are reeling of sadness inside... But I can assure you, compassion for her, and everyone involved, IS appropriate here. She has my forgiveness, my love, and I pray that her family, friends, boyfriend and all those who cared for her, are okay.
We can't always take for granted that "the girl who is always happy" is really okay. I was one of these, and no one could EVER have known that anything was wrong... so kids, girlfriends & boyfriends, PLEASE don't even think about blaming yourselves for not seeing it. Do concern yourselves with being as kind as possible to each other; go ahead and reflect on the ways you might be a better friend to others; but no "why" having to do with you could ever really be strong enough to explain the action she took. Commenter is right: no one can/should EVER be held an "emotional hostage", but it's HIGHLY unlikely that that could have been her sole motivation. Please try to forgive her, and try not to condemn her with judgment when we have such a limited understanding of her whole existence.
Posted by Anonymous, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm
PLEASE: We all feel sad, but moving/removing/building an overpass for the train tracks is simply unnecessary. "Removing temptation" doesn't solve the problem of a child being angry, depressed, impulsive and taking their own life -- solving that involves the availability and access to mental health intervention. Instead, how about you request such large sums of money as would be required to build an overpass, and instead provide QUALITY low cost or (heaven forbid, even FREE) counseling for teens & families.
Posted by mom 4 life, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:59 pm
My son is a student at AVHS, a member of the track team that Evelyn also participated with. We did not know her pesonally. But what strikes me about this very sad situation is the lack of focus on what we can do to ensure this doesn't happen to our own loved ones. Please, spend your energy thinking of how we, as parents, can make a difference not only in our own children's lives, but others around us. I read a quote above from a girl that sat next to Evelyn in a class and she stated that she should have told her how pretty she was. It's okay. Many of us would not feel comfortable sharing our feelings with someone we barely know or do not know at all. I am suggesting that we all, if just once a day, offered someone a kind word, it may make a difference.
Thank you, to the girl who mentioned that comment above. It has certainly made me think of how easy it may be to positively influence someone's day, hour or minute. I am making a commitment to try to make a difference by the means of just one simple act.
Posted by christian lui, a member of the Pleasanton Middle School community, on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:54 pm
I knew evelyn she was always a cheerful person yet i feel a great loss.. she had so much left in her life yet it ended with a simple and abrubt decision . She was a frend and inspired me with her unending enthusiasm.RIP
Posted by christian lui, a member of the Pleasanton Middle School community, on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:54 pm
I knew evelyn she was always a cheerful person yet i feel a great loss.. she had so much left in her life yet it ended with a simple and abrubt decision . She was a frend and inspired me with her unending enthusiasm.RIP
Posted by Please, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 10:02 pm
I think that if even one young life can be saved from an impulsive decision, with the school so close to the track, it might be worth it. Certainly an increased level of counseling, better quality, reminders that professional help is out there, and easier access to it would help as well; I have no argument with that tact at all. But the studies that are being done that show some correlation to easy access to the tracks make me think that we should at least read and consider them in protecting our teens.
No disrespect at all intended; as I said: hug more, listen more, help and love.
Posted by another mom, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2010 at 11:50 pm
We as parents want 24-hour hotlines, weekly group meetings avaliable for students, more and "better quality" (as stated above) counselors, and generally more suicide prevention resources... well all of these things take money. maybe it's time to start working on a parcel tax that will ensure our schools have the resources to help nuture and educate our students. RIP Ev
Posted by PUSD '09 graduate, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 23, 2010 at 12:05 am
ATTENTION EVERYONE, PLEASE READ THIS COMMENT.
I have yet to read through all of these comments so this may or may not be directed towards some people who have posted here, but I would just like to say one thing:
I have noticed A LOT of people have been talking about this whole situation, and although I did not know the girl and do not know her family, it ANGERS me to hear what people are saying.
Some comments are just so judgemental and rude that I can't even believe people are saying them.
YOU DON'T KNOW THE FACTS, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT SHE WENT THROUGH. And quite frankly, it's NONE of your business. You don't need to know the details of her life. Keep your ignorant and close-minded opinions to yourself because YOU DON'T KNOW. No one will ever understand why what happened happened but Evelyn. HAVE SOME RESPECT FOR HER AND HER FAMILY AND LOVED ONES. Stop talking about "why she did it" and how "someone else should have done something to stop it". Perhaps this could have been prevented, but DO NOT point fingers and place the blame on others. THIS IS NO ONES FAULT.
As saddening this incident is, it is real and it happened. All we can do now is send our LOVE and SUPPORT as a community to the Gonzalez family and help them through this rough time. Talk about and remember what a great girl Evelyn was and the good times spent with her, not about how she passed.
And a message to students:
I'm not that much older than a lot of you and I know how rough it can be growing up in Pleasanton. Honestly, I probably went through some of the worst experiences a girl can go through growing up in this town so I can really understand the worst of situations. I just hope you know that life is so much bigger than what is happening now. You will feel pain and hurt, but you will also feel happiness and love, it's all a part of living. You can strengthen and grow from the tough times which will really allow you to enjoy the good times. ALWAYS remind yourself that when things seem the worst that they can be, the only direction left to go is UP. Please, I beg you, just hold on. People love you and care about you so much. People you don't even realize. If something is wrong, talk about it with someone, ANYONE. You could even talk to me if you'd like, chances are I can relate. Just please, please, please stay tough and take every bad experience as a learning experience, things will get better soon enough, and that's a PROMISE.
best of luck.
lots of love to Evelyn and her friends and family.
and if you really would like to talk, ask for my e-mail. or you can leave yours and I'll send you an e-mail.
Posted by mom of 8th grader, a resident of Dublin, on Feb 23, 2010 at 9:54 am
Reading the web link posted few posts back states "There is significant evidence that taking away or obstructing the means for people to kill themselves can defuse self-destructive impulses, which often occur in moments of extreme anguish or stress" While I do agree counseling and reading warning signs are important, I had chat with my 13 year old and she says "but mom..kids are always saying they want to die.." "how can I take them seriously".."oh no..no way..I want to talk to counselors". Teenagers live in the moment. It is hard at times to figure out whether they are depressed, suicidal and what not. Harder to even get them help. It is all about peer pressure, fitting in and friendships. I drove down Santa Rita last night and it just amazed me how close the tracks are to the school. I honestly think pleasanton residents should really do something about the train timings, track monitorings during school hours.
Posted by scared mom, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 23, 2010 at 11:38 am
Evelyn's many friends and family are invited to a memorial service on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 6:00PM at the Graham and Hitch Mortuary, 4167 First Street, Pleasanton Anyone wishing to make a donation in Evelyn's name may do so to the Saving Teens In Crisis Collaborative PO Box 441363 West Somerville, MA 02144 Web site: www.savingteens.org We love you Evelyn, more than you ever realized and will miss you forever Graham-Hitch Mortuary 925-846-5624
God Bless Evelyn's family and friends. God give them the strength to get through this difficult time.
Posted by Another Mom, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 23, 2010 at 12:52 pm
From what the memorial Facebook page says the services have been moved to Valley Community Church at the same time on Wednesday, Which information is correct? Also wonder if the "scared mom" represents the family wishes for donations?
Posted by D. Webb, a member of the Harvest Park Middle School community, on Feb 24, 2010 at 11:21 pm
My wife and I were in our car waiting at the gate for the train to go by when we saw Evelyn laying beside the track after the train suddenly made an emergency stop. I got out of the car and walked towards her, but then I realized there was no helping this little angel, so I stopped where I was beside the tracks. . A man was already standing beside her, and a Pleasanton police officer arrived immediately on the scene. I am a retired teacher who worked for 30 years in the Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall, and even after all I've seen while working there, I cannot get Evelyn out of my mind. I stopped where she was the next day and prayed for her and for her family, asking God to take her into his loving arms and to give her peace, and to comfort her family. Please believe me when I tell you young people reading this that God is alive and very real, and he absolutely loves you, no matter what you may have done. Place your hope and trust in him, and please remember that at the very least you live in a country that offers us the freedom to create the special life we all want. People from all over the world are risking their lives to come here where you already live, so be grateful for that blessing. Do not allow anyone to be in charge of your happiness, and know that if you are not alone----even if you feel like it sometimes. God is always with you, and there is someone close by who cares for you. None of us lives in a vacuum. The teen years are wonderful, but often seem scary. Have faith that God has big plans for your future if you'll only pray and ask for his help, and that you have permission to choose happiness over sadness and self pity. If you are trapped in negativity, find a way to be a blessing to someone else, and watch how quickly you forget about your own problems! People are hard wired to be of help to others, so don't get trapped into thinking constantly of yourselves, because it's self destructive ! The key to happiness lies in helping, not being helped, ok? Oh---and remember that 99% of what we worry about, never happens. God bless all of you and thank you for reading this.
Posted by mimi, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 25, 2010 at 12:24 am
I didn't get the chance to get to know her and i didn't even knew her name..it was sad to know her name after the incident, but what
I do know is that even if I never talked to her, her personality: the way she used to dress with all those bright colors and the color of her hair made me notice her around school and see her smiling, if it would've never been because of who she was, her own personality just Evelyn 100%, I would've never notcie her and I'm at least glad I had the chance to notice her excistence. We'll miss you Evelyn, as always I will keep you, your family, and friend in my prayers<3. R.I.P. baby gril.
Posted by Karen, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Feb 25, 2010 at 7:52 pm
To D. Webb :
Wow. Very well said. My son is away at college and doesn't even know about this sad loss yet...but I think I will take your message with me when I see him next week because I couldn't have put it into words better than you have. It's everything I would like to say to him.
Posted by D. Webb, a member of the Harvest Park Middle School community, on Feb 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm
This is a second post, but I felt I needed to add more comment. I personally worked with many thousands of kids whose lives seemed hopeless and helpless while in Juvenile Hall, and my biggest challenge was to do what I could to help them to feel connected again to hope and purpose in their lives. My job was to help them to discover what it was they personally wanted in life, and how to go about realizing their dreams. Some gave up and turned to drugs, booze and sadly, suicide----but most didn't ! Many chose to find another path when they got out, and I am constantly running into former students who tell me how good their lives have turned out AFTER they started to make better choices ( It really is that simple !) . . I am absolutely serious when i told you in my first posting that thinking and concentrating about one's self too much leads to emotional imbalance. We all need to continually find ways to be of service to others, for their sakes as well as for our own! People who walk around feeling depressed all the time are often guilty of simply thinking about themselves too much. Also, there is absolutely no way any of us can be complete without our having a relationship with God, because he is our creator and our real father ! For those of you out there without a dad, I can promise you that Jesus Christ would love for you to accept him as yours, and the Bible tells us to call him Abba, which in fact means Daddy !, I live in the real world, and I promise you he will not fail you should you choose to make that choice. I have no idea what was driving Evelyn to make such a tragic decision last week God bless her, but whatever it was would have been forgotten about or dealt with within a year's time had she chosen to wait, and to let time make things right. Life is great----IF you follow your inner voice and stay strong enough to make your own choices instead of following the crowd or media. Don't you know that everyone is scared sometimes,--- even your grandparents? God asks us to lay ALL our burdens on him , and then accept the joy that only can come from him. Choose a clear conscience and choose life kids, because the alternative sucks !! God bless all of you.. D. Webb
Posted by Kathi, a member of the Amador Valley High School community, on Feb 27, 2010 at 9:14 am
For those of you previously who asked for "better quality counselors" do you even know the names of the counselors at any school? Do you know what types of groups they run? Would an outside counselor know your student's teachers, their friends, where they eat lunch on the quad? You make judgements based on one child's actions.
There are still almost 2600 students at Amador; what about them? Next time you see a teenager at the store or driving around town. Take the time to look them in the eye and smile and make a connection. Don't go the "pants down on the floor" way; so what if they dress differently, didn't you? We are all responsible for making our children comfortable in this world; you wouldn't make fun of a senior citizen's way of dressing or acting; why do it to a teenager? Make a CONNECTION each and every day. Don't just buy them the next new thing - juicy bag, coach shoes; new car; talk to them every day; fight with them if you have to but connect.
You never know what that one small connection of smiling at a teenager might do.
Posted by renad, a resident of the Pleasanton Heights neighborhood, on Oct 20, 2010 at 9:26 pm
i miss her so much:( ill always miss her. she made everone happy and alive and knowing that she is gone is heart braking!!!!! R.I.P evelny i hope u r in heaven. we will always love u and miss u. u have no idea!! we miss u and love u beautiful sunsgine. ull always be in my heart
Posted by Bethany, a resident of the Las Positas neighborhood, on Feb 19, 2011 at 5:37 pm
I was a good friend of Evelyn. Just to clear things up, she skipped class 7th period (the last period of the day) with intentions of following through with her plans to commit suicide. She told a friend of ours her plans, and the friend attempted to talk Evelyn out of it, but Evelyn told her still wanted to ditch class. Our friend watched her walk home, since she lived right down the street, to ensure she didn't change her mind and go to the tracks. When our friend thought it was safe to go back, she went back to class. Unfortunately, Evelyn still had intentions of ending her life that day, and walked back the other direction. The screeching of the brakes on the train was hard to ignore. There were some witnesses, one of which was one of her best friends. He hasn't been the same since. None of us have. I remember looking back at the train that was stopped, unaware that my friend was the one who jumped, thinking "Wow. I just hope that I didn't know them." My step-mom came in my room later that evening, aware of the news, and told me that the name of the person who committed suicide was Evelyn Gonzales ... Everybody who knew/knew of her lost a lot that day. Nobody knows for sure why she wanted to end her life. It has been a year to date and we all miss her very much. We, Evelyn's closest friends, are working on an on-going project to spread suicide awareness. R.I.P. Evelyn Gonzales <3