NPR reported this morning on suicide clusters, where a group of peers, mostly teenagers, take their own lives in a relatively short period of time. In the latest example of this disturbing trend, four students from the same high school in Palo Alto, California, have committed suicide in the last six months, by jumping into the way of a busy commuter train.
Concerned parents and others in the community are working to ensure that this "misuse of the tracks" does not happen again. They've set up a Track Watch, taking turns watching the railroad tracks and the surrounding area, holding their breath just a little when the train passes by every half hour.
"We're out here to show the community and the kids that we care about them and that we want the misuse of the tracks to stop," said Caroline Camhy. The mother of two small children, Camhy started the Track Watch days after the last suicide occurred at this spot a month ago. As school and city officials agonized and conferred, she and other volunteers felt compelled to act.
"We want the deaths to stop, and we want people to know that if they just open their hearts and look around them, they'll find people who care," said Camhy. She added, "We're not the only ones."
Many of the track watchers have families of their own and children who attend the same schools. They nearly unanimously say they'll keep coming out to the tracks in shifts for as long as they need to.
Marie Elena Mendoza said she sleeps better if she stays until 1 a.m. "This way, I'm sure. One o'clock is the last train. I can go home and rest completely, knowing that there will be no more trains."
Listen to the full story, originally on NPR's Morning Edition.
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