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Teen Took Own Life – Community Devastated

Tragedy hit the community of Danville, California when, early on Wednesday morning, police called off the ground search for Alliy Bayliss, the Danville teenager who went missing on Monday. They say that evidence was brought to their attention which leads them to believe that Alliy has taken her own life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.

The tight nit community of Danville is devastated by the news. Thousands of citizens in the area rallied together over the past three days to help law enforcement and Alliy’s parents find their daughter.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, at around noon this afternoon Danville Police Chief Steve Simpkins announced that the search had been called off and that officials were ruling Alliy’s disappearance a suicide. “This is a very sad outcome,” he said. “Our hearts go out to the Bayliss family at this time and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts.”

San Ramon Valley High School principal Joseph Ianora sent an e-mail to parents regarding the tragedy. It reads:

To San Ramon Valley High parents,

I am deeply saddened to inform you that the police have called off the search for Allison Bayliss, and that they believe that she took her own life. This tragedy touches the lives of all of us in the San Ramon Valley High School community and our heartfelt sympathy is with Alliy’s family.

Understanding that many students and parents already have this information, we felt the need to communicate to our community as soon as possible.

We will do everything in our power to support our students, staff and parents this week and into the future, as our community deals with this terrible loss. The district crisis team, including school counselors and psychologists from our school and other district schools, will be on campus through the week. Our staff has already been informed and is meeting to talk about how we can best provide support to our students.

Additionally, district administrators will be present on the campus to assist the staff with a variety of needs. While the school and district staff will continue to provide support during the school day, there are things you can do to support your child as well.

Some common grief symptoms that you may see in your child include: sudden changes in behavior, lack of appetite, difficulty in focusing, acting silly or angry, feelings of worthlessness or self-hatred, and expressing unexpected emotion. Some students may withdraw. How children work though their grief depends largely on how family members reach out to them. The more children are encouraged to share their feelings, the more they will be able to cope with their loss. Acknowledging loss together as a family, can give comfort and support, even in the midst of pain and sorrow.

Our school psychologists are also available to parents during school hours. Additionally, there are community resources available including Discovery Counseling Center (925-820-1988) and the Contra Costa Crisis Center (800-273-8255).

We know that many of you will want to express your care and concern. At this time the school is respecting the family’s privacy. Until we have more information, if you would like to send cards or other condolences, please send them to the school office and we will deliver them to the family.

During this difficult time, the care and concern of each member of our school community is our highest priority as we grieve this loss together. Please feel free to contact the school if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Principal [Joseph Ianora]

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2011 in News

 

Missing Teen Raises Concerns About Depression

Police are still searching for the 15 year old girl from Danville who disappeared Monday morning. Alliy Bayliss was last seen on the San Ramon Valley High School (SRVHS) campus at around 8 a.m. Monday. She is reported to be white, about 5’8″, and was last seen wearing blue jeans and a red zip-up hoodie.

Allison Bayliss went missing on Monday, May 23, 2011 at around 8 a.m.

Her parents, along with the help of police and thousands of community members are frantically looking around Danville and San Francisco. An apparent suicide note that she left at her house lead her father to believe that she may go to the Golden Gate Bridge. At around 4:45 Tuesday morning, Her father found her bike and helmet in a park near the bridge; the search has continued around the area. Local media stations have been contacted and community members have rallied together to post flyers and spread the word of her disappearance.

While law enforcement and family members are frantically searching for any clue as to where Alliy may be, the Danville community and fellow SRVHS students are hoping for her safe return. Students even started a Facebook group, FIND ALLIY BAYLISS, which has now amassed almost 10,000 members. Facebook users have been posting comments of love, support, and hope for her safe return. UPDATE: as of Wednesday morning, the FIND ALLIY BAYLISS Facebook page was taken down due to inappropriate comments. A new page has been created under a similar name: FIND Alliy Bayliss.

Comments include engouraging words such as:

“Alliy being a teenager is excruciatingly painful. But it doesn’t las forever. SO many people love you, let that carry you through any pain you are feeling.”

“The greatest joy I have is being a mother to a teen girl. I hope you come home safe and sound so that you can experience that kind of happiness for yourself, later, years from now. You have so much to look forward to. Go home sweetheart, you are loved.”

“Praying for Alliy’s safety and for her family… Alliy, I hope you are able to find a friend to talk to or even just to sit with. Please hold on to the truth that you are loved and cared about and you have friends who want to walk with you, listen to you, and just be present with you, even when life is so very hard. You are not alone”

This case has raised concerns, not only for Alliy’s well-being, but also for the status of her mental health. Alliy is considered at risk for depression and suicide. Many times, family and friends of people struggling with depression don’t know what signs to look for in regards to said issues. Many people don’t reach out due to fear of the negative stigma associated with depression; they are worried of what people will think about them and how they will be viewed by those they care about most.

Even though one’s teen years are many of the most difficult and emotionally wearing, many high schools (and colleges) do not yet know how to deal with issues such as teen depression, self-harm, and suicide. SRVHS has had counselors available to its students throughout the past few days. Many students remain hurt and confused by Alliy’s disappearance. The hope is that the on-call counselors will be able to help students with any pain associated with the situation.

Over the past few years there have been discussions of putting up net on the Golden Gate  Bridge in order to prevent people from jumping off and taking their own lives as often. Kevin Hines who jumped off the Bridge at the age of 19 and survived says that most people who jump instantly regret doing so. Although it is still to be determined as to whether or not Alliy attempted to jump off the bridge, there have been other cases within the past couple months involving teens who have jumped or fell off the bridge; one was a prank and the other was an attempted suicide – both survived. Both stories gained national attention.

As search parties continue to look for the missing girl, community members are doing anything and everything they can to help the family. Many have signed up to bring meals as well as dropping off younger kids at school, and helping out with anything else that may need to be done in this difficult time. Today, countless students throughout the area wore blue, Alliy’s favorite color, as a sign of support and awareness. Danville Congregational Church is hosting an interfaith vigil tomorrow night at 7:00 as a way to show its support for Alliy and her family.

More information can be found at the following news stations: San Francisco Chronicle, Contra Costa Times, KTVU, and Patch.

Anybody with information about Alliy or her whereabouts should call 911 immediately.

For those struggling with depression themselves or know somebody who is, visit The Love Out Loud Campaign to find different resources available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at: 1-800-784-2433. (UPDATE: Those who are struggling with these issues in the Bay Area should also check out the Bay Area Suicide and Crisis Intervention Alliance)

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2011 in Assignments, News, Videos

 

Fox… Noos?

Check out these spelling mistakes made by Fox News during the breaking news story of Osama Bin Laden’s death… No, I am not talking about “Usama” – that is how it is spelled phonetically. I’m more talking about words like “Landen” and “Confrims.”

This screen shot of Fox News right after Osama Bin Laden’s death was confirmed displays the importance of checking and re-checking stories you are posting on the web.

In my interview with Ariel Wesler he explains that there is a fine line between the importance of being first and the importance of being right. In the news industry it is very important to break the story first – however it is also important that you have the correct details and information. Some would argue that you can always go and update a story and correct facts as the story develops, however it is never okay to have spelling errors.

In my opinion, the spelling mistakes that Fox News made on their initial Breaking News headline are not justifiable. Spelling and grammar are immensely important and if you don’t make sure they are correct you diminish your accountability.

I was glad to go on to the Fox News website a few minutes later and see that they had correcting the spelling mistakes.

Just to clarify – this is not an attack on Fox News. It is just an example of a mistake that every single news organization makes at one point or another. It is unfortunate that it happened to Fox right in the middle of one of the most important breaking news stories of the past 10 years.

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in News

 

Barack Obama: Address about Bin Laden’s Death

The president’s address to the American people.

What are your thoughts on how this will affect the number of troops we have around the world? Will some of them get to come home? Thoughts?

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2011 in News

 

Breaking News: Osama Bin Laden Dead

Recent breaking news has stated that Osama Bin Laden has been killed by US troops in Pakastan. His body in US custody and is awaiting DNA testing to confirm that it is him. Bin Laden is the leader of the Al-Qaeda and has been in hiding since the September 11 attack on the Twin Towers in New York City. He has been number one on the United States Most Wanted list since 2001. News stations throughout the entire world are reporting on this story. Although there are not very many details, news stations will keep us updated on any new details throughout the course of tonight and the days that follow.

Osama Bin Laden

Facebook and Twitter users have also started updating their statuses about the Al-Qaeda leader’s death. The updates include everything from “Osama is dead” to “AMERICA. Nothing else need be said,” “For everybody interested in the royal wedding, this is what REAL news is,” to “Osama is dead, can we please bring our troops home now?”

President Barack Obama is giving a special address to United States citizens about the most recent attack on Osama Bin Laden, an attack that took place after receiving information about his whereabouts and carefully planning the best way to deal with the information. As previously stated, the carefully executed plan as successful and Bin Laden’s body is now in United States custody. In Obama’s address (which is currently happening on just about every channel on television) he says, “the death of Osama marks the most significant event in this nation’s fight against terrorism… but that does not mean that our fight is over.”

More updates to come.

Update: 9/11 families feel some relief and closure following the announcement of Bin Laden’s death. Although families feel some relief that this man is gone, they are also worried about what his followers will do. What will retaliation be like?

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2011 in News

 
 
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