Funeral services for Evelyn Gonzalez, an Amador Valley High School freshman who died Friday, are scheduled for 6 p.m. tomorrow at Valley Community Church, 4455 Del Valle Pkwy.
The 14-year-old student was killed shortly after 2:30 p.m. Friday when she was hit by a Union Pacific freight train just west of the Santa Rita Road crossing next to the high school in what police determined was an apparent suicide.
In response to the incident, the school district has also planned a forum for the community from 7 to 8:30 p.m. tomorrow night in the Amador Valley High library. At the forum, counselors will be available to speak to the public and review signs of depression as well as look for ways the community and schools can work together to support students.
At last night's school board meeting, Kevin Johsnon, senior director of pupil services, said counselors at both Amador Valley and Foothill high schools will meet together to discuss measures that can be adopted to prevent tragedies of these kind from occurring again.
"We encourage families to keep lines of communication open with your students and talk with them about their concerns and feelings," PUSD spokeswoman Myla Grasso said in an email to parents and staff.
Signs of depression, she added, include: sudden changes in behavior, dramatic changes in appetite, sleeping difficulties, poor performance in school, trouble concentrating and agitation, inability to sit still, unexplained loss of energy or excessive fatigue, loss of interest in friends, increased drug/alcohol use, constant feeling of worthlessness or self-hatred, excessive risk taking, preoccupation with death, dying, or suicide; and giving away of personal or prized possessions.
More than 100 fellow students held a candlelight vigil at the school Saturday and some also met with school counselors who were available during the day in the school library. Counselors also will be available starting early tomorrow when classes resume at Amador. Pleasanton schools are closed today for President Washington's birthday holiday.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Evelyn's family and friends at this difficult time," said Principal Bill Coupe in an email to parents and guardians of Amador students Friday afternoon.
Pleasanton Police Lt. Jeff Bretzing said he could not say why Gonzales walked onto the tracks but the investigation is continuing. The incident was called into police at 2:32 p.m. The last period at Amador ended at 3:09 p.m. Students can leave campus earlier on pass if approved by the district office or if their seventh period class was cancelled. Students in that class noted that Gonzales was absent.
"I went to the candlelight today, and as soon as the lady began to speak Spanish and talk about Evelyn, I broke down in tears," an unidentified sophomore wrote on Town Square Saturday. "Yet, I didn't even know Evelyn. It's so sad to think she felt so alone and felt so unloved she would do this; I hope she's in heaven and that she is happier. My thoughts and prayers go to her family, especially to her mother and father.
On Facebook, comments in tribute to Gonzales include these:
"I always saw u at lunch and you always looked soo happy with your friends... I was soo sad to hear about what happened to you. I hope you are happier now...I'm soo sorry to the family. I hope everyone is doing alright." - Brianne Isabelle Becker.
"So sad to see a young girl with her whole life ahead of her to take her life... Wake up call...If you know someone in the same position help them seek help or try to help them yourself......A life is so worth it.......Rip sweetie." -Anthony Ramirez.
"My son sat next to Evelyn in class and said she was a sweet person and always had a smile. We will all miss you; you have touched the lives of many." -Olivia P. Baeza.