Teen boy fatally struck by Caltrain in Palo Alto

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- A teenager was fatally struck by Caltrain in Palo Alto Monday morning.

Caltrain officials say the teen was hit after he intentionally walked on to the tracks.

The student was a 15-year-old sophomore from Palo Alto High School.

Students and parents were given a letter Monday, encouraging families to talk to their kids about a tough, but an important talk regarding depression and suicidal thoughts.

Officials say the boy was hit by a northbound train, causing a major back up for at least an hour.

"We are extremely concerned. This is an unusually frequent occurrence for this kind of thing," Caltrain PIO Jayme Ackemann said.

Caltrain says there have been eight fatalities this year, seven which are believed to be suicides.

It's an issue that resonates in this community.

Back in 2009, there was a cluster of teen suicides at nearby Gunn High School in Palo Alto.

"I think it's the expectations we place on ourselves to be perfect especially since Stanford is right over there," Wilson Wang said.

Students we talked to say there is a lot of pressure to succeed.

"I think people's self-worth is put so hard on their academic success, which is defined very narrowly, that just kids put everything on that and if they think that if they're not perfect then they can't do anything and then that just crushes you," Amalie Ingham said.

And while, educators continue to encourage students to seek help, Caltrain says its crisis prevention efforts are saving lives.

"We are still preventing more suicides than have taken place. In January, we stopped three individuals who were intent on taking their lives on the tracks," Ackemann said.

Caltrain says it will continue to work with the city and school district on increasing efforts to prevent suicides.

Caltrain has a website with resources for suicide prevention and awareness.

For more information on suicide prevention, click here or call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.



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