Not Just Another Suicide

Patrick Turner

Today, at 10:00am, Patrick Turner will be laid to rest. He will take with him the hopes and dreams of two parents, a sister, and two brothers.

A week ago, Pat was a seemingly happy-go-lucky sixteen year-old teenager, playing baseball and clowning around with his friends.

I say seemingly because over the weekend, he would take his own life.

Pat grew up in Newport Beach, CA. and attended Corona del Mar High School. This is important because there aren’t too many other places in the nation where expectations are as lofty. US News ranks CdM high 71st out of 650 high schools in California and 413th out of more than 22,000 high schools nationally. Students at Corona del Mar are testing over 30% higher than the state average in California in Math, English, and Science. Over 95% of students are graduating from Corona del Mar High with 86% of students meeting UC/CSU requirements.

Oh yes, Newport Beach has been ranked as the fourth richest city in the U.S.

All this to say that just the thought of being “ordinary” is out of the question. You MUST succeed. Teachers and parents will constantly remind you of this in case you forgot. The pressure is enormous.

The notes that Patrick wrote are floating around the internet. I have decided not to keep them posted on this blog. The family needs time to heal.

Patrick was very specific about what caused him to come to this point. The pressure to perform. Not from his parents but from school. He wasn’t allowed to be a kid. This is par for the course in America now a days. That doesn’t mean it’s right.

I will say this. Things WILL NOT change until colleges change their curriculum on what they consider a worthy application from a prospective student.

All of this has hit me extra hard. I mentor a group of sophomores (same grade as Pat) here in Irvine, which is the next city east from Newport. CdM High School is in the same league as my guys.

I wish I could say that I’m surprised at this. I’m not. The schedule that my guys have is mind boggling. One of my guys practices with his baseball team from the end of school, 2:00pm until 6:30pm. Then he has to go home and do 4 HOURS OF HOMEWORK. That’s right 4 hours. And this is the norm. They are constantly having to perform

I wish I could have talked with Pat. I would have told him it’s okay to not want to be like the others. It will be difficult for awhile, but when you’re out of the house and working, you’ll be just fine. Life is much more than striving. Yes, it is hard, but there is so much more than what you’ve experienced.

I pray that Pat’s notes will make a difference. I hope that people will take a moment to take stock of what their priorities are and make the necessary changes.

Even though I never met Pat, I hope to see him someday.

212 thoughts on “Not Just Another Suicide


  1. Thank you for sharing this article as hard as it is to read. I am so sad and heart broken for this young man. What a sad experience this school, like too many others, has provided our children and grandchildren. Schools now are teaching to the test, teaching to that college entrance exam, teaching that Common Core Crap and the kids are stressed to the max and still learn too little. PE is out, art is out! Only STEM subjects are really in because that is what we have decided that everyone needs to excel in..even when they struggle. Some have great scores on tests so they graduate but know little of what they EARNED those grades on. But by God they know the test.
    After school parents have kids running from school to tutors, band and sports practice then home to supper (is there really time?) then homework for too many hours..from elementary school through high school. No more just being kids or teens..no time..must be perfect..must excel in school in all classes. My John or Sara is top of his/her class..best in orchestra, band, baseball and football. They have band concerts, games and competitions on weekends and school nights.. And yet schools and yes..even parent do not understand why these kids are committing suicide. When they say they feel pressured too much do the schools listen? parents? counselors? I have never in my 66 yrs on this great earth seen so many stressed, depressed, medicated and in therapy youngsters and teens as I do now. It is sad, it is heartbreaking and it is beyond time for our State and Local Education Boards and our parents to fix it before another child dies from this insanity.
    Thank you for letting me have my say.
    Condolences to Patrick’s family..I am so sorry for your horrible loss.
    Colleen Baker
    Nampa Id…
    previously from Orange County California…


      1. As I shared before. CdM is not the same as it was when I was there in the 70’s.
        God love Pat & to share this terrible ordeal with all of us. It needed to be said. But I wish not this way. I have 3 kids & because I loved CdM & no pressure, I wanted each to have that joy & happiness. The boys did okay. Then in 2001 I put the last child a girl. Hoping for the best. We lived in Costa MESA at the time. She was a very active girl at the Junior High in CM. But I really wanted her to go to CdM. Her 2nd day of school I came back through the Campus & it was break time. I saw her all by herself. Everywhere else they were in groups. I went up to her & said what’s going on? She started to cry & said, Mom I don’t like it here. Please take me out. It was just too clicked for her & it broke my heart. Anyone who knows her, she was one of kids. I took her out. It was the Best thing I ever did. No pressure, lots of friends. She was a cheerleader all 4 yrs.
        I get it Pat & I’m so sad that it ended like it did. I will tell you if your family had not decided to share your letters, we would not of know your pain. I bet you have saved a lot of lives. Thank you & God Bless you & your family


        1. I have had the same experience with CDM as well as my neighbors. Nothing has ever changed there! Out of 3 kids we sent there, NONE of them chose to stay there for these same reasons. What a shame!


      2. Hi Tom! I believe you wrote the article? It so resonated with me! As an educator and as a parent in Newport. I wanted to share the letters with my adult children and yet I don’t see them anymore. Could you send me a link or send them to me! Things must change! #Patrick


        1. The letters were taken down per request. I had no idea of the impact the letters would have and am a bit overwhelmed. Maybe in the future.


          1. wonderful article i would love to share with the administration of our town. We live in Greenwich CT similar to Newport. When you are ready can you share with me the letters. I am sure they will be very helpful Thanks


          2. Tom, the letters, the middle one especially was so powerful. I read it together with my daughter and had a wonderful, honest conversation about expectations and communication and life perspective. I understand the family’s request for privacy. I also hope that some time in the future they may share Pat’s beautiful words with us again. It was so poignant and spoke from the heart to our hearts. I think it is Pat’s gift he left us so that many, many kids and parents will learn from him. Thank you.


          3. The letters were the most powerful thing that I had ever read on this subject. Gave me a lot of insight into the pressures kids today face. My heart broke for the family and the kids that are still here under that kind of pressure to achieve. It was eye opening to the expectations we can easily verbally express without thinking. I understand why you took them down but know that they were very powerful in letting others know what is happening with our kids today. God bless this family. Praying for them.


          4. Tom so Smart ! . somethings in life need to be private & respectful . The letters are in the right hands .. no one else needs to read them .the people who received the letters are hurting .. I can only imagine . Love your children and tell them everyday you love them no matter what . Love conquers all . ❤️ God bless Patrick . I have never met him but feel a common thread raising a 16 year old boy with the pressure of the college prep & search . I also have a freshman boy in college and pray for him everyday that he feels loved and is finding his path without me hugging him everyday when he leaves or comes home from his day . God bless our kids and give parents the strength during these times of our world ( a different and hard way then our parents had while raising us , back in the day .
            ( ❤️ Portland Oregon )


        2. This is so true of our teens. I think especially here in S Ca.. I felt it looking at my youngest who just graduated from Norco HS 17. She graduated with honors while playing Travel Softball and Club Volleyball. I saw the enormous pressure and all the late nights doing homework in the car because of practice or private lessons. I finally sat her down and told her she does not need all of this. I want you to be happy. We talked quite a bit over her HS years. Finally realizing the sports are not going to be her career stopped and enjoyed her Senior year and yes for the 1st time a summer vacation.

          My prayers for Pats family.

          https://www.facebook.com/talesofaneducateddebutante/posts/2005810816327644
          Here is a link with one of Pats letters. It is still up on FB, if this will help any other teens feeling this way.


    1. Absolutely..children today do not know what it means to be an innocent child and enjoy some down time. Every minute of their life seems to have to be filled as if they’re on a conveyor belt of activities. Little children are being medicated because parents can’t deal with a child who may be a bit more rambunctious or who just needs their attention, because they themselves are running ragged to pay for that 4k sq. ft. home they have to have to compete with their friends, while television and social media are raising your children….so the child is conveniently diagnosed with ADD or whatever else, put on medication that may calm him but is killing him from lack of love, attention and some normalcy. When all that spirals out of control, the child has no one to consult and a young neglected mind can become a dangerous thing on its own.


      1. Please take note that ADD is not just a convenient diagnosis. I have 3 children and one of them takes medication for ADD. The suffering he goes through in order to concentrate and complete his work is palpable. To ignore his learning difference would be cruel and unecessary.


        1. I agree! There is so much negativity about medicating for ADD, that those of us (I am 70!) that need it are looked down upon. I understand that for some, they are just active kids & it is for the convenience of a teacher. We didn’t redognize the need for it for our son (or for me) until the last half of his senior year of high school. He was not hyper, very laid back, & slipped through the cracks all that time before. When WE finally recognized it, so many things made sense: his inability to “clean out” things in his room, his forgetfulness to take his completed homework out of his car or locker (thus getting a zero on it though I had helped him with it the previous night so I knew he did it). He had to go to summer school to graduate because (without our knowing it) he had skipped a class where the teacher constantly belittled him.
          He did not go to college, but went into the military, & though he has had to tough it out for 20 years without meds, he has reached the pinnacle of his career in Special Ops! And he now is taking online classes where because of all the classes he has had in the military , he will have a BS in 2 years & a Masters in 2 more when he retires. And the military has changed their position regarding ADD meds just recently, so he can also reap the benefits of that!


      2. As a parent of a child with ADHD I would call it anything but convinient. Can we stop the name calling and stereotyping and have a legitimate conversation?


        1. YES ELIZABETH!

          And why would Elka say, “…medication that may calm him but is killing him from lack of love, attention and some normalcy.”?????? WTH does that even mean???

          The parents I know who have made the hard decision to put their diagnosed kid on medication have done so to help their child GET some normalcy, and to help them stay focused just enough in class so they can learn, and so they don’t cause a disruption to everyone around them, and so they can stop losing self esteem by the minute. And, there is NO LACK OF LOVE.


          1. lack of understanding …..before you drug your kid first take responsibility to changing you and your child’s diet !!!!!!


      3. Elka…I think you need to learn more about ADD or ADHD. I am not saying that some teachers, doctors and parents don’t push for kids to be put on meds cause they are too hard to handle. But the majority do not.


    2. Colleen this is head on – perfect. It’s so sad how schooling has changed and not for the better. Sorry that Pat was pushed to feel this way, what a beautiful soul!


    3. I completely agree with you!! I’m a fourth grade teacher and the testing and pressure on BOTH teachers AND students is ridiculous!!


      1. I agree! I am a 6th grade teacher at Day Creek Intermediate — a school that performs at the tippy top of all middle schools in CA. Our kids are so overworked, so pressured to perform, and so stressed out that it breaks my heart. I try so hard to tell them to JUST BE KIDS! Adulthood is coming soon enough. Now my own daughter is a freshman at Los Osos High School, another top performing school in CA with a ridiculous amount of pressure. I hear all these parents talking about college applications and rigor and needing to have a 4.5 GPA to get into any decent school. Geeez, these kids are freshmen! Plus, don’t we need more TRADE schools since white collar jobs seem to be few and far between? God help me if I encourage this craziness in my profession…


    4. I agree with so much you say. Kids need to be kids and have al those other areas, art, music. Meet a smart kid who does well; art/music/creative areas are part of their life. Common Core is not really a negative. The stress there is often not on the kids. Parents fear it. Friends, family who teach support it. Different teaching paths have been used for many years to reach more students. My sister teaches 1st grade and teaches reading in more than one method. Her kids learn in different ways. Educators are some of the most maligned people, because of lack of understanding and insisting they use only traditional paths.


    5. PERFECTLY SAID!!!! Lord, please bring change to our schools and restore peace to our country!!! Praying for Patrick’s family.


    6. This article makes me so sad, I wish you hadn’t taken down the letters so parents can see what their kids are potentially struggling with in school. the letters were heartbreaking.


      1. Thankfully, I was able to read each one to my boys and my husband! They brought tears to ALL of us! The pain this poor boy experienced and to put it in three separate, eloquently written letters was the most impactful. God Bless you Patrick Joseph! May you be at peace in heaven.


    7. You removed the most important part! No one can learn from this through your opinion. This boy wrote letters for a reason. Your concealing it. People need the truth to heal.


        1. It is paramount that even in the midst of the horrendous level of grieving this family is enduring that they understand that those letters are a gateway for school administrators to fully understand what our students are thinking and feeling. This dear young man, Patrick, was not an anomaly. He spoke words of truth that reflect the feelings of many, many, many students. If shared respectfully and to the right educators, those letters could potentially save a life — a precious teenage life!


          1. I agree Victoria. At the request of the family I have taken them down. And, ultimately, these letters belong to them.


          2. Please tell your children JUST DO YOUR BEST and that is all you can do They should know that doing their best may not be the best grade, but I would rather have a child do that then feel such pressure…..being a teen alone brings many pressures without having a good grade ,not being the best grade. I assure you they will get into college and will succeed if they have confidence that they have done the best they could….praise your kids and talk constantly about how they are feeling, sometimes we have to stop with errands etc. and just listen and look at their body language to see they are struggling . This was not Patricks case , he seemed to keep it to himself rather than talk about it,when he had a wonderful family that could help or a teacher to say its ok. Such a precious boy to lose his life just when it was starting….I pray for strength for his family to know that there was not anything they could have done when he hadn’t told them his feelings. Now, we can all pray for his family to heal the best they can.


          3. I pray the family finds peace in sharing these letters when they are ready. They are the gateway for administrators to understand the depth of the stress our children are under. My children goto school in a district very similar to the one this student went to. The pressures are so high here that children are coming into the nurses offices more and more than ever with high anxiety, panic attacks, and thoughts of suicide. Devastating! My prayers go out to the family and the community in California dealing with this.


    8. This is a heartbreaking story. I have two in high school and this could’ve been written by either of my kids. The bubble they are living in… The unrealistic expectations for getting into college… Unbelievable stress. I honestly thought my daughter was going to mentally break while applying for colleges this past fall. I wish I could take it all away for them. They have also echoed much of what was written in Pat’s letters. My heart goes out to his family. RIP Pat.


    9. I agree in your reply Colleen. You put it so well. Just sad kids can’t be kids anymore..


    10. These articles scare me tremendously. I have a 12 year old with ADHD who is brilliant but struggles terribly to complete big projects and take on the pressure of everyday homework. We did move from Marin where he would have gone to Redwood high school which is ranked even higher then the Newport School, glad to not have that pressure, we moved to santa barbara where there is more diversity and a little less competition in high school, but college acceptance is still competitive regardless of your high school and I lay awake many nights worrying about how he will meet college acceptance criteria with his disability and hope he never thinks life is not worth living.


    11. I pulled my son out of a high performing charter school in LAUSD when he came home the 2nd week of his freshman year in tears because of the pressure. He’s always struggled with school and jus two weeks in and he lost it. No one could believe I took him out of a school with a ridiculously long waiting list and put him in what’s considered a much less academically rated school. He’s a junior now who gets to be a regular teenager. Life will be hard enough as an adult, Kids don’t need to feel that kind of pressure while in school.


    12. I totally agree with you! I just recently helped a mother of her four adopted children get her kids off the medication which she put her kids on in order to get…wait for it….GOOD GRADES! This is the norm now. Parents are sending their kids to a piliminary pshychatrist appointment to get their kids started on Concerta a drug that has the “side effect” of suiside. But is so called “helping” kids concentrate. It’s a narcotic. If you look at it real close you will see this is what’s happening. I’m very curious to know if this young man was on a medication. I make it my business educating parents about the horrific side effects of these drugs. Black box warming’s and all! They are oblivious to the pressures these kids are under and the awful side effects of these drinks. I feel for this family my heart breaks for them. It’s totally not acceptable to do this to kids! They aren’t really learning this way! They are drugged and regurgitating information later to forget what they memorized and don’t know how to apply it to life for the most part! My heart just breaks when I hear this! Thank you for seeing it for what it is! Thank you for commenting!


  2. Sad to know how we have failed our youth, with Ego expectations of unreality of Heart


  3. Pats words are VERY powerful. As a former CDM mom I not only understand but am guilty of pushing my three kids to succeed and more. The competition is EVEN MORE INTENSE NOW. It all just goes with this territory ie our bubble. Probably won’t ever change. I wish this family peace and eventually healing. I simply cannot imagine the pain of losing their sweet and precious boy. ❤️


    1. Patti, Thanks for being honest. I don’t think things will ever change in Newport. It’s funny, but when talking to my boys I tell them they live in the Irvine “bubble”. Things are not like this in other areas. I can’t imagine what the parents feel, there are no words.


      1. As a parent in Irvine, our schools are not much different than CDM. Both communities are too academically competitive for our children’s mental health.


      2. Dear Tom, it’s not funny in any way.
        The OC bubble is a huge burden to place on our children’s shoulders. Please rethink your priorities and give your children a break- not to be under achievers but to be that they can be the best person that they can be – on their terms not ours.’


      3. they are exactly the same all over – here in Georgia – it is terrible and the suicide rate is high.


  4. As a mom to a 17 year old may I say I understand the pressures kids are under these days and my heart is breaking for this family and community…there is more to life than accomplishing more and buying more and performing more…it’s OK to “just be” May God comfort all of you in each of the difficult days to come


    1. Sandra, I really can’t say that anything in the community will change. Patrick will probably be referred to as someone who couldn’t “handle” it. He was made to feel like this, it just didn’t happen. By all accounts a great kid.


    2. As an adult who grew up in the OC, didn’t “see” this until we moved out of CA…now not only seeing life as it was meant to be but actually feeling it. Even as adults, there’s always the strive to do more, go out more, spend more, etc. and it’s hard. But kids in the middle of establishing their own life, have a hard time of “keeping up with the Jones’s.” There IS more to life than having the highest gpa or graduating with the highest of honors. While one needs to make a living for life, learning happens in many places. On the job training, trade schools, and colleges all provide education— in the long term. Prayers to this family. Life will never be the same fir this poor family, but it does go on.


  5. Wow. I went to Newport Harbor high school. I can relate in the sense that when I went to my counselor to ask about the steps to get to college she turned me away and said not to worry about it (as a junior). I don’t know where Ms. Peggy Hoytt is now but, I still managed to find my own way, go to UCI and finish. It always felt as a minority that I was not good enough for her counsel.

    This is still unjustified and extremely sad. There are other people out there who will help you. Hopefully it’ll shine light and hold staff and educators accountable for what happens in their classrooms and offices. My condolences to family and friends!


    1. Jose, I also went to Harbor. The pressure wasn’t even close to what these kids have to endure on a daily basis. Read some of the other comments and you’ll see what I mean.


      1. Tom, minimizing another person’s struggle or competing over who has things worse does not help anyone. Who are you to say that a student at another school can’t feel just as pressured? None of us can know how another person is truly feeling; as you wrote, Patrick was “seemingly” happy. Let us all be open to listening to and supporting anyone who is brave enough to share their struggle, without judgement, for it is relative their experience not ours.


        1. Who am I? I’m just a guy with an opinion. I wasn’t trying to minimize anyone’s feelings. I was trying to share that the pressure in this particular zip code is above and beyond.


    2. Everyone’s comments are important here. I think the problem is broader than just schools in high-income earning cities and regions. I have seen t his tragic waste of life ended too soon across the State of California from wealthy communities to impoverished communities and everywhere in between. I have heard the stories of counselors dismissing students who are not at the top of the classes wishing to go to college. Looking for help and answered and being completely ignored, dismissed and told to not worry about it you will just get a regular job. I personally know people who lost children for so many reasons around the junior high and high school systems. It is a very, very sad and serious problem. Patrick, rest in peace. To the family, blessing and compassion. To the schools, while there are many great teachers, administrators and counselors, there are, forgive me, crappy people in the system harming the kids, their opinions of themselves and shutting them down.


    3. Thank you Jose ❤️ I’m glad you made your way despite people like PH (who either wasn’t trained properly or was a product of NB in the ‘90s, or, more likely, both). Unfortunately Tom couldn’t take the time to try to understand what it may have been like for you, but I remember, and my experience wasn’t your’s.


  6. I agree. I am at a scretary at Riverside Unified School District and we have seen students treated harshly but we have also been encouraged these past two years by our amazing superintendent to make every effort to engage all our students with kindness and patience and encouragement. I sincerely greet every student who comes to my counter late , some perhaps their 30th time with a smile and ‘I’m so glad to see you’


    1. You are an amazing staff member. I know you made a difference when I worked at the same site at you know. Everyone is accountable for creating the feeling of a school community.


    2. Thank you, Gloria Cates, for mentioning Riverside Unified School District. As parents, we hear so many people talking about our stressed-out students. They’re quick to judge and to blame, but cannot offer a solution. After your comment, I read up on Riverside district, and watched videos of parents, administrators, faculty, and students engaged with one another. They appear to be making a difference in the whole community. Imagine if this became a model for all California districts!


    3. This would be great to have a welcome from someone in all schools! In North Carolina I have 1 granddaughter in high school & one who just graduated last year. They both hated their school because of the caustic environment set up by the principal. These are well adjusted girls, good home life, lots of friends outside the school environment, active in sports (outside school), & the older one in junior college & doing well.


    4. Your statement is wonderful! My son is one who is tardy to many times 12 this year. Here they have rule for excessive tardy. When this happens when late you are suspended. My sin son doesn’t go now when tardy. He says why I just won’t be able to go tomorrow. He says you are punished more for even showing up late. I agree.


  7. I’m so sorry for the loss of this young man. As someone who recently lost my husband by way of suicide, I find the title to this article offensive. As though every other suicide is some how less important. Every life lost by suicide is incredibly painful and senseless. I will keep his family in my prayers.


    1. Kim, I hate saying I”m sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what you are feeling. Thank you for being transparent. I pray that God’s grace shines down on you.


  8. The pressure begins in K and First Grade. I teach First, and students are expected to learn to write 4 genres of writing: narrative, opinion, information, and fiction before they have mastered how to write an effective sentence. There is a one year range in class. I am seeing more and more interventions each year to meet standards in both language and mathematics. Kids need to be allowed to be kids.


    1. I was told to get a tutor for my son in 2nd grade because he was only reading at grade level. Because I was a classroom teacher I butted heads a lot with his teacher who was totally sold on the we’re special with our rigourous blah blah blah. Meanwhile all data shows that the testing g and early reading and how fast you can multiply doesn’t make anyone smarter or better prepared for anything than more testing. Patrick’s dreadful sacrifice will get some changes going because I’m not the only one who us determined that it will. Pray for all the children


    2. Yes, Elizabeth! I work with Kinders and they are expected to write stories as well! The pressures begin so early and the judgement as well. I overhear educators already making predictions on who will succeed in their later years, and who won’t! I find this to be completely unacceptable, as children learn and retain at different stages, some are late bloomers in body AND mind! Something needs to seriously change here!


  9. I am not a teacher but was a cheerleading coach for over 35 years. I spent time with the girls outside of cheer because I wanted to get to know them, where they came from, what they were feeling, if they had a good or hard day. I made it a priority to teach them the” FINER THINGS IN LIFE!” To live each day finding the good. ( at least one good thing during their day)
    This story breaks my heart because this young boy had so much to live for but could not see a painless tomorrow.
    Praying for the family and those who hearts are breaking at the loss of this young man.

    My heart is looking for a new way to reach the youth of today because I am now retired from coaching.


  10. Hi Tom – Thanks so much for posting this. Those letters are powerful. A very sad and similar thing happened with one of my daughter’s good friends in our neck of the woods. Your post is being shared a lot here in Texas since stress and pressure are enjoying a free ride in more places than the West Coast.


  11. WOW – As an educator, this breaks my heart and as a mother of daughters in private Catholic high school I worry that I have placed them in an environment similiar to CDM. How hard it is to resist getting caught in the undertow of competition….I only hope this allows me to open up an honest dialogue with my own daughters and become a more compassionate educator who offers a safe haven to my students.


  12. I am so very sorry for the incredible loss of this young man; and to his family and friends, my sincerest condolences. I hope his in his legacy much need changes will happen-fast.
    I want to say sadly, school pressure, especially high school pressure, is not only limited to high performing students or schools. My son, who has learning disabilities fell apart academically in his last months of senior year, and instead of support from the educators who knew his issues, applied even more pressure and negativity to a very serious situation. It was cruel and so unnecessary .
    Bravo, to the school attendance secretary (comments above)who greets each student in a way that shows them they matter- your students appreciate this more than you could ever know.


  13. Wow, how do you respond to a post like this. This is another child that has ended his life. Parents, Administration, and children must start take responsibility. You responsibility starts today. Listen to our children, empower our children, but most of all show these children respect. One child, one life that matters. If you need help contact someone or some organization. From the Director of imbullyfree.org.


  14. It’s saddening to see that Patrick never learned what I think is the biggest lesson from playing sports. It’s okay to lose. It’s okay to make a mistake. It’s okay to fail. In sports, there is a team that wins and a team that loses. You use the losses and failures as opportunities to learn and make yourself better. That lesson could have saved his life and made his life much easier to live.

    While I do not want to minimize Patrick’s letters, I believe it’s unfair to cast all the blame on the teachers or faculty (which it seems Patrick’s intention is and how some of the comments are forming). As someone who went through the 12th ranked high school in CA and went on to teach high school, middle school (one zoned similar to how Patrick mentions CDM is), and college, I can tell you it’s the entire education system (oh, and let’s not forget the parents). Most teachers quit before 5 years into the profession. Why? As someone who left K-12 after 2 years, I left because teachers get zero support and all the blame. They are berated by parents, who then complain to administration, who are so scared of the parents they join in to blame the teachers too. The only teachers who survive are the ones who get beaten into submission and follow what the horrible education system says to do (which is teach to the test, because API scores are more important than students apparently). So, what are you left with? Teachers who care more about their job security than their students.

    As an example of the pressure parents put on faculty, someone in a previous comment wrote “common core crap” as part of their complaint. This is part of the problem. Common core works, it was just so poorly implemented, it was doomed to fail from the start. CA knew back in 2010 Common Core was going to be adopted. It wasn’t until 2014 when the standards were going into effect. Yet, almost every district did NOT spend any money/time to prepare their faculty for the change. Instead, school districts acted like ostriches and stuck their head in the sand hoping it would go away. As someone who was teaching secondary education during that period, it was laughable to see the attempts school districts tried to train their teachers over the few months of summer before it was required to go into effect. What do you expect faculty to do when they’re on the front lines, and yet all the support from the administration is failing them? How does an army win a war, if they have no supplies? While a majority of the faculty in CA is unprepared to teach the class they’re teaching, I think it’s unfair to put the majority of the blame on them.

    Reading the letters, Patrick praises his parents, family, and coaches in his letters. However, I find it weird if they’re such model citizens, why was he was unable to communicate his fear of failure and the pressure he was under to any of them? Why did he have not have support from anyone? Could no one tell him that the college you go to doesn’t matter 5 years after you graduate? Could no one tell him that character, personality, being friendly, getting to know people, and networking is much more valuable in real life after high school than GPA? Or, if high school was so painful, how about the option of obtaining a GED and going to community college for a few years, or even taking a break? There are so many things that could have been done to try and prevent this tragedy, and yet it seems no one was the wiser.

    What I see is a young adolescent who believes he has close relationships with friends and family, yet can’t have an open dialogue of his problems of stress and lack of self-worth. However, he’s quick to blame the faculty at his school. What I take from this is he was surrounded by a culture quick to blame without accepting any of the responsibility, which his young mind succumbed to. Thus, leaving him with a sense of helplessness. So, he says teachers are the worst, yet they’re the source of all the problems. With no support net through friends and family, this tragedy occurred.

    While education needs to change, I hope these letters create a cultural change. While I agree many schools overburden their students, I hope there’s a cultural change of not taking the easy way out. Stop blaming a group without knowing the situation, and instead try to find ways to help that group. Stop telling students 4.0+ GPA and going to the most prestigious college is the most important goal as a student. Stop trying to shift responsibility to another group, and instead accept and admit the consequences of your actions. Without this, it doesn’t matter what pressure we put on students. It doesn’t matter how the department of education changes. We’re training young minds to find someone else to blame, and until that changes this isn’t going away.


    1. Thank you for your response. I love what you said. My heart aches for this boys family.


    2. I have to say I mostly agree with this assessment. The strange part to me was how aware this poor kid was of the problem (that teachers were teaching to the test and putting pressure on students). I don’t purport to understand what’s going on in someone’s head when they make a decision like this, but it seems a little strange to me that he has identified something as not right (and not normal, even) but still gone through with this act. It seems like – if the entire cause of this were the unrealistic pressures the school puts on the kids – his motivations would have been more along the lines of, “I’m not measuring up and therefore don’t want to live anymore.” I’m having trouble reconciling “Teachers give out worksheets and one teacher was mean to me” with “I’d be better off dead.”

      I have no idea why this child did what he did, but it does seem (in line with what An Educator posted above) that he wanted to pin it on the teachers. Then again, he didn’t mention the one mean teacher by name, which seems inopportune.

      I went to a high-pressure private school as a kid. Everyone was expected to be exceptional (which, as we all know, is impossible to achieve). And there were some suicides that took place while I was there, unfortunately. But – as is the case with most things of this nature – it was much more complicated than the picture being painted here. Both suffered from depression (one was, in fact, depressed in the wake of the other). One was dealing with some pretty intense psychological issues and having a very hard time finding the right treatment (which has the potential to be catastrophic when there’s alcohol in the mix).

      These are pieces of a bigger problem. Kids need to know that there’s more to life than this moment right now. Adolescence can be extremely isolating, and they need to know that there are people to whom they can turn (as An Educator mentioned above) when they’re experiencing hard times. And there is an enormous deficit of behavioral health specialists who treat children in this country. My first college had a counselor with walk-in hours, and that was literally a life saver.

      My deepest condolences to this child’s friends and family. I do hope we as a culture can learn how to raise the whole child and not just the exceptional child.


    3. It’s saddening to see that an educator would make a comment about the “biggest lesson” this CHILD never learned. If this is the type of response he would have received from the faculty at his school, I wouldn’t blame him for not reaching out to someone. He didn’t cast all of the blame on all faculty. Obviously there were a few faculty members who were making his school life miserable. In your comment, you mention leaving K-12 because you “got no support, and were berated by parents”. I’m so glad that you were an adult and had the option of leaving your unfortunate situation. Imagine being a child and having to get up everyday and walk into a classroom where you get no support and are berated?

      I live on the opposite coast and in a rural area. I have three daughters. My oldest has completed college, my middle daughter is a junior at a state university, my youngest is a junior at our local high school. I will tell you that at their high school, the faculty would not have told Patrick that the college chosen to go to would not matter 5 years after he graduates. In fact, they do not speak to students about a community college with the option of transferring to a university. If you’re not in the top 10% of your class, guidance doesn’t speak to you at all. My daughter had friends who were lost after graduation. They had no idea about which direction to take with their life or what their options were. Their parents didn’t go to college and didn’t expect their children to go. They deserved as much time with a guidance counsellor as the students in the top 10%. They didn’t get that time because the school only cared about how many students in the graduating class attended a four year college. It makes the school look good! They compete with the other schools in the county. Patrick’s letter about faculty is so true with my own daughter who is currently in the high school that my older daughters attended. Giving out worksheets and not “teaching” or having discussions in class, being told that this would be covered on an exam and not that. (being opposite when given the exam). I would not want to be a high school student again! My older daughters tell my youngest who is still in high school, to hang in there because college is a totally different. They both love college. The professors actually lecture, “teach” and treat them with respect. My girls have been blessed to have had some of those teachers in high school also. To those educators who go out of their way for your students, thank you!

      I have a sister and a nephew who are teachers. My oldest daughter is a speech therapist in the school system. I realize that parents put pressure on faculty, but this is not the place to discuss that problem! This child expressed is true feelings in these letters. Who are you to judge his last words? Your words in your letter make one feel that you’re exactly the type of teacher Patrick was referring to in his letter. You’re questioning his relationships with friends and family. He wrote about stress, not his lack of self-worth. He was a CHILD! Adults struggle with depression and see no way out of a situation other than to taking their own life. Most of these adults have close relationships with friends and family. Many seek help and still take their own life in the end. Friends and family are not to blame!

      You mention “stop blaming a group without knowing the information.” Isn’t that what you’re doing? Did you know Patrick or his family? Do you know all of the information? How dare you comment that by taking his own life, this child “took the easy way out”! As far as “training young minds to find someone else to blame”, you’re the “Educator” and that’s exactly what you’re doing in your letter- blaming anyone other than faculty.

      Prayers for Patrick’s family and friends❤️


      1. I agree with most of what you say, but Educator also has a point. This is his perspective. The pressure in this particular neighborhood is extra ordinary. Thanks for the comment.


    4. I agree with your analysis… my family is going through a similar situation


    5. An Educator I agree with the majority of your comment but as a parent of a former Troy High School student I will say that there are a few truly whacked out teachers at each school who really take it upon themselves to make their students miserable. AP or honors teachers who proudly state it is impossible to get an A in their class. Who insist on creating a curve. That is ridiculous. If you have 39 kids who are incredibly bright and work their butts off and master the material taught they should all get As. Instead these teachers put material on exams that is not taught to force a curve. What the hell is That? And group projects where the group stands or falls based on everyone doing their part. Sorry but that is not real life. In real jobs if there is a slacker the others make up for him or her so the project is a success. So some teachers make it their mission to push kids to failure. That has nothing to do with teaching to the test. That is egomania. And they can’t be told how to grade and they can’t be fired because of the union. That is a broken system. My heart aches for this family. I hope we can all pause and make sure our own kids and their friends know alternate paths are more than ok. I hope teachers can put their egos in check and do what is best for the kids. I hope the administrators can work to make kids either college ready or career ready with trade school alternatives.


  15. OC sucks and is 100% a universe in its own bubble. I went to Dana Hills High School, same shit. Sending strength and prayers to this family, it’s not fair. I hope these school districts get their bullshit together. x


  16. Sadness – that a beautiful young life felt so overloaded and weighted by the pressures to fit the perfect square mold of that A bubble student. My daughter is 16 and goes to a high school that is identical to this- our bubble is Danville CA. The pressure to get perfect grades, fit in, go to college, juggle D1 or any and all sports and activities is immense and honestly immeasurable. The other day I walked with a mom who said her daughters friends are taking the ACT in 7th & 8th grade!!! Yes the PSAT and ACT prep tests!! In JR HIGH?!!! To know these poor kids most likely feel their only worth is the test grade they achieve is brutally wrong . This young man took his life bec the pressures of school where and ARE too much. They come from competiting with students who have been to brain enrichment tutors since they were 4, the high levels of HW, many of the inconsistancies in teaching & the conquest of of both the kid & parent in GETTING accepted to a college. Pretty sure the parent wants to brag about their kid getting into a UC or what have u more than the kid cares to brag about getting in!

    I wish this young man had a close friend to talk to. Sadly- this is also about our KIDS not being allowed to have time to be kids!!!!!! Hang out and DO nothing kids, they’ve been scheduled since pre-school & the over scheduling and over schooling is out of control — I wish for change. Every parent I hear says our high school is harder than college. Crazy! harder! What on earth are we doing —- ? I wish for balance & peace for this family. I’m so so sorry and sad:(


  17. Probably not relative but people in those cities look at everyone else so different and treat diff as well. They forget that we are all human despite our race or color. Just because you did not get an education regardless of the reason does not mean you get to be treated different. Not all have the opportunities to advance.


    1. It is so sad that a young men had to died so we listen to their cry… the school system is old fashioned because it is run by old fashioned folks. It is time that we make something happen. Our kids hate school and I hear that every day from my kids and from his peers. They don’t see how lots of crap they are learning at school today is going to help their future lives. I am an American born here and I can say Our school system sucks.! I was able to take my children one year to Spain and was able to compare how my children learn there versus here and GOD what a difference. My kids where learning IMPORTANT stuff at school during their school time not sending hours and hours of homework home. I am very involved on my kids education and that year I saw while reviewing with them how much they knew before our reviews at home. I was AMAZED! The DIFFERENCE: They were leaning at school, came home knowing the material everyday and when exams came they were prepared without much more effort than their hours of school. They were ready for tests, they were able to explain the concepts they were leaning, in a piece of paper ( not multiple choice crap) and how that was important to them. They were able to come home and enjoy a walk in the park, playing with their peers and even enjoy sitting at the table with their parents and siblings and talk about their days, stress free, children been children.
      My kids missed that way of learning and I did too. My kids missed also the 2 hours of lunch, where they play and get to interact with their peers which is where they learn very IMPORTANT SKILLS. And let’s talk about their lunch, daily healthy meals. NEVER NOTHING PROCESSED! My kids never ate pizza or hot dogs in that school in the entire year there and that was a public school in the city of Madrid. I was ASHAMED of my school system. It is obvious that we are failing as a society because we are failing to give the best to our future generations, our children. IT IS OUR FAULT for taking for granted the most important things in our lives. Our priorities are wrongly defined. OUR CHILDREN COME FIRST.
      I went on ranting about my experience overseas to my peers in the states and instead of unite and make something happen their response was they were not able to do much. The only way we can change what is happening to our youth is that we take our educational system and invest in it and learn what is not working and incorporate new and proven systems and spend the money where it really matters OUR CHILDREN OUR FUTURE!


  18. I graduated CDM in 2011, I wish I could have been as brave as Pat & given myself & my family the peace of an Earth without me and my self-destruction in it. I believe it would have hurt people less than I have hurt people by spiraling out as a teenager since age 11, when I started at CDM… my being “unable to handle it” looked different than Pat’s.

    Pat, if your listening, your letters are simple, beautiful & I could not have written them better myself… Your unselfish loving communication to people who positively touched your life is…. like a beautiful spring day amidst violent thunder storms. Reading your letters I feel as if you did this because you saw no other option & I relate so deeply with you… I pray you are resting now & I pray the hearts your have broken heal from the pain of losing you. I pray your message to inspire change gets through. I also pray for your family at this time.

    It’s time we make changes…


  19. Our son’s name is Patrick, too! He marched to a different drummer in high school at Aliso Viejo HS. There is a lot of stress to conform. Some young people have it in their DNA to resist conforming. (He quit varsity soccer to devote more time to his band.) I am so saddened that it was in Patrick Turner’s DNA to be a people pleaser. To disappoint others must have been devastating to Pat Turner. As a former Elementary School Librarian, I wish that I could reach out and hug him and have a long talk with him. I wish that Pat had the opportunity to talk to just one person with whom he could have shared his heavy burdens. It is so difficult to say to your parents that you are disappointed in yourself. (My heart aches for Pat, for his parents and extended family, and for Patrick’s siblings and extended family.) Patrick’s words show what a thoughtful young man he was. (My own Mom attempted suicide four years after my Dad’s death, and I still feel extreme pain from what I feel as my failure to reach out to her and to talk about her depression.) We need more high school counselors allocated enough time in their day to get to know their students. Patrick got lost in the shuffle somehow. He may have been quiet in his depression. Perhaps his story will lead to much needed changes in the educational system. Book learning is only one aspect of what we learn in our school days.


  20. There is a documentary called “The Race to Nowhere” which is all about how much pressure is placed on kids to achieve and excel and be the BEST at everything all the time. I suggest watching it if anyone reading this cares to relate to Patrick’s feelings. I’m heartbroken for this family and for Patrick to have left this earth feeling he didn’t measure up. And for the teacher he’s referring to-stop showing up to collect a paycheck-if you’re not there for the students then pursue a different passion-even if it means having to work summers. RIP Patrick~


  21. This is so sad, devastating. What an intelligent young man but felt pressured to do better. Where have they failed as educators? To feel pressured enough to take his life, what a sad situation. As a Nurse I see a lot of suicide and attempts, breaks my heart. May GOD hold his family in his loving arms. Praying for the students, friends, and families.


  22. I went to CDM high school and graduated in 1970. I felt pressured also at that time. I am so grateful that it brought me to a faith in Jesus Christ. The pressures I felt were mainly socially, but also in the classroom. One Biology instructor openly mocked, along with most the class, anyone who believed the Bible, which I did not believe in at the time. I remember one student being mocked for admitting he believed in Adam and Eve. I also remember his courage to this day when times are difficult and it gives me hope. God is merciful. Peace.


    1. As a Christian, I have the same thoughts. I remember a classmate trying to witness to me during high school. I was the hot shot basketball player. It took a lot of courage for her. Thanks for the share


  23. This pains me so much. Teacher are indeed cruel.I was one of those who quit in the 8th grade due to the way I was treated. God be with his family in this time of sorrow


  24. Just yesterday, I was talking with an old friend about anxiety and depression in children from high-achieving/high expectation parents. The pressure on them is unreal. I used to live in such a community (Princeton, NJ) and my son suffered terribly. There was a facade of perfection among the other mothers (I can’t speak for the fathers as they were mostly working long hours in NYC) that made me feel alone and inadequate. As Princeton was my only frame of reference, I didn’t realize what a crazy pressure-cooker environment it was until I left for another state. My son could have easily become a statistic; For both of our sakes, I’m so glad I moved.


  25. So sad and unnecessary. The US school system and culture to succeed at all costs is to blame. One of the many reasons I’m slow traveling abroad with my kids and having them learn from the world… not just from books and taking tests. The US culture of success, academics starting in kindergarten (which is developmentally inappropriate), lack of empathy, bullying, materialism, keeping up with the Joneses, celebrity worship etc. is toxic. I sold my brick n mortar business, learned how to run a business online and have been traveling and worldschooling my nearly 9 year old twins as single mother for the past year 1/2. If I can do it, many others can as well. Escape the madness especially the corrupt political system!


    1. I read the letters and they are still online when I posted this comment. What he described in those letters is totally believable. I was a student at CDM and was suspended for a week because of a harmless matter outside of school jurisdiction(A legal technicality of not getting consent). I was in the same grade this person was and I felt like my life was over. Then I realized that high school is temporary and will be over soon and that I had much to contribute to the world. If he realized this, he would have likely reached 50 years old and looked back and thought how little his time in high school was compared to the grand scheme of his life(only two more years until he graduated!!!!) and how little and irrelevant the grades, sports he played, and the finals that the teachers gave mattered to his life in the present time. The saddest part about all of this is that he knew how much more important having great character was compared to grades and sports when he wrote, “It’s never about the other kid. The kid who maybe does not play a sport, have a 4.0+ GPA, but displays great character.” Despite knowing this, he still chose to end his life. The culture at CDM is toxic and if a public school where most students don’t have a choice in deciding whether to attend it or not continues to conduct business the way it does, it has failed this student and will continue to fail many students moving forward. The part where he wrote that teachers put things on tests that the students didn’t learn rings true to me. In AP US History, the teacher,(who is at CDM currently), gave a test where there was material from a chapter not yet covered. Students complained and the teacher responded by suggesting that if we really cared about learning instead of just the grade, we would have read the next chapter. I truly believe this student encountered this type of behavior by his teachers except that it was implicitly shown. Instead of sympathizing with the students and helping them, they see students are people who only care about the grade and are seeking the next brass ring rather than “wanting to learn the material”(and, according to them, indirectly disrespecting their jobs and self worth as teachers). If only he realized how irrelevant high school would be in his life in only two years time, he would have been able to display the great character that I am sure he had and he would have made a difference in someone’s life somewhere for it.


      1. Well, John Doe and everyone else here who wants to place blame, if you know the family and have truly listened to their words, they are not looking to place blame. They are the first to state that blame lies in the horrible decision Patrick made to take his own life. They too want change, but want to be part of the change. We all need to change. . . Parents who push their kids, kids who are over zealous in their academic pursuits, teachers who don’t take the time to acknowledge each students individuality, students who are rude and exclude their peers, the college admissions process. . . I could go on and on. My point is, there is not any ONE place to point the finger. It is a multi faceted issue and will require the effort of MANY to implement change. I am sorry you experienced issues, but I know for a fact having had two children in the APUSH class at CdM that while the curriculum is demanding, the teacher is readily available to offer additional help and coaching. There are actually many like her! Let’s all stop looking to place blame and honor Patrick’s words, “Be inclusive.” “Change!”


        1. I don’t think the public has resources to know what the parents are saying. They are good people. They want things to change. We are less than two weeks from his death. Everyone who wants action now needs to be patient.


          1. Need to be patient? See the two responses I wrote to Andrea, the second one I had to rewrite off the top of my head because I thought the first one didn’t go through. Look at the timeline and tell me when is a good time to take action. I appreciate you posting about this. I look back to when I attended the funeral for Stephanie Chen at Pacific View. The school did nothing close to addressing themes of “Be Inclusive!” and “Change” to the entire school. I wondered since her death that if the school revamped their culture right after she died, took a strict stance on bullying by students and teachers that became permanent, then maybe Pat would have lived through high school. Yes, he might have committed suicide due to other pressures after high school, but I believe this would have been less likely because he would have a choice not to attend college or work someplace he doesn’t like. This is so heartbreaking because he had so much to live for but he couldn’t see it because of the school culture was so cutthroat. Yes, he had other issues contributing to his death, but CDM admin and teachers needs to stop being the one shifting the blame around to cover their butts and start taking responsibility for what THEY are doing !


          2. Tom I read John Doe’s comments and I agree that people are quick to say the right things but rarely make the effort to change things. Yes, there are many to blame in this, including Pat. But it is so frustrating that this notion is used to excuse the school from blame. I also read johns timeline. Crazy the stuff that happened at CDM. And you have the guts to tell people to be “patient” I understand that you are talking about Pats suicide but you must have known about the other stuff too. Clearly the school has a culture problem.


        2. Andrea,
          I am in no position to know what the family is like. All I know is that they wanted the letters removed from this site. That’s it. Let me respond to your “We all need to change” ” there is not any ONE place to point the finger”. It is a multi faceted issue” “will require the effort of MANY to implement change” PC talk with a timeline of events that MANY CDM teachers right now will confirm. I have nothing against you personally but I have heard way too many of these feel good comments where “everybody” is to blame to shift responsibility from the school, an environment the government FORCES students to be in. Let me provide you with a timeline of events and maybe you will think that MAYBE the school should be the primary focus for change.

          2004-students hack into computers to change at least one grade. No talk of trying to change the culture
          2005-female student named Stephanie Chen commits suicide by hanging herself in the closet. She was my neighbor and one of the sweetest girls you would ever met. Very shy but passionate about environmental issues. She was bullied constantly and pressured to perform. She hung herself in the middle of receiving college acceptances. I attended her funeral and I was super disappointed when cdm did not make an effort at all to address culture issues after her suicide. No announcement made to address the suicide. There was a yearbook page dedicated to her but no calls for action. She seemed to carry her Art History book around so ask Mr Gunnin about her.
          2009- Principal Fal Asrani refuses to punish football players who threatened to kill a female student on campus before or after threatening her on Youtube(Does it really matter the order?). Only after her parents threatened to take action did Asrani punish the students. This is an example of what Pat meant when he said that people, “only see people on the outside” Asrani was afraid of punishing star football players who “shined” on the outside with news coverage for their football play but on the inside, they had malicious thoughts towards someone likely because she was seen as a lesbian. No calls for accountability against death threats or calls for tolerance by the admin(maybe because parents of football players were on PTA?) Asrani did leave for “a better opportunity” when the female student’s parent threatened to sue.
          2009- Asrani refuses to approve a LGBT drama show called Rent to be performed on campus. She either claimed she didn’t get the script to approve it or she didn’t approve of the content. No rational person would believe her excuses(and the latter one is unacceptable anyway) considering the context of the above incident.
          2012-Amazon test bank “scandal” An example of teachers trying to punish students for their resourcefulness instead of acknowledging that they (teachers) are too lazy to make their own tests.
          2014- Students hack into computers to change grades by using a “keylogger” Names of students are concealed. Inconsistent punishments. No major calls for improving school culture(I do not condone cheating, especially the scale that this one was.)

          It looks bad to admin and teachers when they are to blame for these scandals and suicides. I do believe that Stephanie and Pat had other issues that contributed to their suicides. Just like the students who cheated and threatened to kill the student had outside issues. But that doesn’t mean the school is off the hook. Not a chance. If the school actively encouraged inclusivity, putting school in perspective, encouraging enjoying the high school experience,etc. MAYBE Stephanie and Pat would be alive today. Yes, they will be stressful moments in college, after college, etc and lessening expectations in the classroom with less homework so students can enjoy themselves more may be seen as encouraging bowing to “entitlement” when student complain but if it prevents even one suicide and cause many students to feel happier, so be it. An “entitled” “in a bubble” student is better than a dead one. People may argue, “oh in college, work, etc. you can’t tell your boss that you are stressed out and overwhelm and tell him or her to “lower expectations like a “BABY”.” True, but you can weigh the costs and benefits of staying vs leaving and choose to leave. K-12 school you are REQUIRED to attend. In conclusion, schools should change their culture so they are not the straw that breaks the camel’s back so to speak.

          As far as the AP Us History teacher goes, it is fact that my teacher, Ms. Christensen used a test from another teacher, Mr. Tomlin, where there was a test question testing a concept in the next chapter that wasn’t taught in class. This type of behavior by teachers is what frustrated Pat. Ms. Christensen is an amazing teacher but when she did this I was disappointed.


        3. Andrea,
          I was not given the opportunity to talk to the parents. When you write, “My point is, there is not any ONE place to point the finger. It is a multi faceted issue and will require the effort of MANY to implement change.” it sounds like PC talk to me. I have nothing personal against you, but I have heard too many comments like this where “everybody” is blamed to take away blame from the school. Read the timeline below and MAYBE you will think its the school culture that is the primary thing that needs to change.(Different admins yes, but Same non action toward changing school culture)

          2004-students hack into computers to change at least one grade. No talk of trying to change the culture
          2005-female student named Stephanie Chen commits suicide by hanging herself in the closet. She was my neighbor and one of the sweetest girls you would ever met. Very shy but passionate about environmental issues. She was bullied constantly and pressured to perform. She hung herself in the middle of receiving college acceptances. I attended her funeral and I was super disappointed when cdm did not make an effort at all to address culture issues after her suicide. No announcement made to address the suicide. There was a yearbook page dedicated to her but no calls for action. She seemed to carry her Art History book around so ask Mr Gunnin about her.
          2009- Principal Fal Asrani refuses to punish football players who threatened to kill a female student on campus before or after threatening her on Youtube(Does it really matter the order?). Only after her parents threatened to take action did Asrani punish the students. This is an example of what Pat meant when he said that people, “only see people on the outside” Asrani was afraid of punishing star football players who “shined” on the outside with news coverage for their football play but on the inside, they had malicious thoughts towards someone likely because she was seen as a lesbian. No calls for accountability against death threats or calls for tolerance by the admin(maybe because parents of football players were on PTA?) Asrani did leave for “a better opportunity” when the female student’s parent threatened to sue.
          2009- Asrani refuses to approve a LGBT drama show called Rent to be performed on campus. She either claimed she didn’t get the script to approve it or she didn’t approve of the content. No rational person would believe her excuses(and the latter one is unacceptable anyway) considering the context of the above incident.
          2012-Amazon test bank “scandal” An example of teachers trying to punish students for their resourcefulness instead of acknowledging that they (teachers) are too lazy to make their own tests.
          2014- Students hack into computers to change grades by using a “keylogger” Names of students are concealed. Inconsistent punishments. No major calls for improving school culture(I do not condone cheating, especially the scale that this one was.)

          By encouraging “reducing” homework, some might think that the school was encouraging “entitlement” or being “in a bubble”. Everybody agrees that an “entitled” student is better than a dead one. Some also might argue that, “in college or in the real world, you can’t tell your boss that you are stressed and want expectations lowered.” True, but you can weigh the pros and cons of keeping the job and leave if you want. Students are REQUIRED to go to high school if the parents don’t homeschool. In conclusion, schools should encourage students to enjoy hs activities and reduce homework. The letters make it very clear that Pat committed suicide primarily because of the school culture. The school can’t control things outside their control. But the school can control its actions and improving them is not too much to ask.
          As far as the AP US History teacher goes, mine, Ms. Christensen, used a test from another teacher, Mr. Tomlin, that had a few questions from material that was not covered in class. This type of behavior by teachers is what frustrated Pat. Ms. Christensen is an amazing teacher but I was disappointed when she did this.


  26. And people
    Look down their noses at my daughter for homeschooling her children. SMH. God bless this family!


  27. As a teacher I agree with what Patrick is saying. It’s true that teachers are required to test regularly and sometimes without having the time to properly teach what’s on the test. That is because administrators and school district are requiring data. They also have pacing plans that teachers are required to keep up with. If you take the time to go over material, help with problem areas, or reinforce things previously taught, you fall behind in the pacing plan. It’s a vicious cycle. I do not condone rude or disrespectful behavior by anyone (especially a teacher.) It’s very sad that Patrick did not feel he could reach out to someone to talk to. Perhaps that is what is missing. Students need to feel they can talk to someone who will listen objectively and not judge. Every school should have a crisis intervention program and students should be aware of its existence. I’m truly sorry for the loss of this young man. I also think schools need to take his words to heart. Something has to change.


  28. You don’t have to be in boarding school to have this happen it happens every day. If someone would just listen to the kids they would know. My hearts breaks a little everyday I have watched 1,300 kids since the age of 5 and they are now 16. Have had the privilege of getting to know the ones that were two years older and two years younger.
    Not included in the 1,300. Who would have thought that family friends would have forgot to understand .

    Years many years ago. Family friends and a village raised the children. Now they are thrown to the wind. It’s not right no one seems to listen.

    Biggest peeve it’s doesn’t take much.


  29. As a youth coach in Colorado for the past 12 hears and also a mom of 2 amazing kids, this epidemic of suicide and pressure on our children to work every hour of the day and master everything they touch is sheer destruction of self confidence. My mission in my coaching is a no fear method. Instead, I work hard to let them know they are people first and players second to me. They are pushed by many in their lives and also this society has demonized teenagers, somehow expecting the worst and treating teenagers badly at first only treating them well after they prove their worth. This must change. We must treat these kids well, and show them love if we are teaching them how to treat others. I’m not saying this is always easy, and some let me down, but in life respect is a 2 way street. These kids are young, but I always tell my players I respect them and I show this with action and I get it back in spades. This issue is very close to my heart as I know this loss personally. This method of coaching works too, as my kids don’t fear me, instead they work hard and we have a lot of fun and we have won our last 3 tournaments. My measurement to them is be the best version of themselves they can be. Not comparing themselves to others. We have to value these young people as individuals.


  30. heartbreaking. thank you for talking about this.
    Please reach out to us if you’d like to be a part of the solution to this heartbreaking epidemic. Help us bring The S Word to your community.

    http://www.theSWordMovie.com
    email: madpixfilms@gmail.com

    Open the discussion after you hear from suicide attempt survivors. We are reaching out to high schools and colleges and communities all over the country.

    #suicideprevention #teensuicide
    “Speaking the word suicide is not the problem. It’s the silence that so often surrounds it.”


  31. I’ve had similar experience in Coppell, TX. One son is great—he’s become a wonderful man. A daughter who suicided in 04 at 15. And youngest son who is battling addiction and no longer chooses to be part of what’s left of our family.

    I spent time with my kids and coached, but select baseball and club soccer on top of school activities left little time for family. I did not set a great example for my family as a husband…their birth mother leaving when they were young, followed by divorce. Step Mom tried, but the suicide sealed that marriage as well.

    My regret is that I did not guide my family with moral faith thru church. I was not raised in a religious family, and didn’t see the sense of it. Now, with all we’ve been thru, I know my family would have been more capable of understanding and dealing with life’s inexplicable challenges if they had a more grounded foundation. Laugh or disagree if you will, but I’ve learned too late that there’s no do-overs, and with deeper faith in higher power and my guidance setting the example to moral conviction, our kids-my kids-would better deal with stresses they all experience at school and home.


  32. I appreciate you removing the letters to protect the family. But please know the letters are far more impactful than the blog post. I showed the letters to my 16 year old daughter and she couldn’t believe that this sweet boy was the same age she is. I was about to send your blog post (with the letters) to the principal of our high school and to the superintendent of the school district. You see, we live in the heart of Silicon Valley, and unfortunately, we have grieved many children who have taken their lives due to academic pressures. The letters provide a very small glimmer of hope that the school administrators and school board members in these high-pressure communities will start to FINALLY understand what our children are truly enduring. It would be a double-tragedy if the message this dear boy was sending doesn’t receive the attention and the audience it deserves.


  33. I believe not all kids need to go to public schooling. Always summer ball. And if home schooled they don’t have to worry about shooting, being ,bullied or have to live up to certain standards. As a parent you can teach your kids from home schooling your values and how a adult life pressure is not so much of being bullied, or having to be perfect in school and sports and along with hanging out with the right cool words and clothes too. Yes they still can make friends but friends they feel comfortable to be around. Schools expect so much out of kids today. That colleges and jobs expect way to much. College debts are horrible too. Kids don’t have time to be with their families. The world needs to change . And let kids be kids.


  34. Kids today have a rough time trying to be perfect. The fact is we all lack perfection and you don’t realize until your older. So much pressure or today you won’t get anything in the way of praise and some kids don’t feel worthy. Thanks for this post.
    Wish things aren’t like this


  35. Prayers for this young soul who has found his way home too soon and his family


  36. I think they should do work at school. Let them play outside. Let them be kids while they can.


  37. I am praying for Patrick’s loved ones. I recently lost a nephew to suicide, too, and discovered an amazing local organization offering support to survivors, and an outreach for teens in crisis. It was founded by a woman whose teen daughter took her own life, and I have no doubt they have saved many lives since they started. http://www.withhopefoundation.org/home/who-we-are/


  38. As a parent who lost his son less than 12 months ago I am stunned by what I read here. Most postings seems to put the blame on the school without having ant idea of entire picture or the details of the circumstances, no psychiatric evaluation, no clue of what preceded this case. Were there any early signs this was going to happen? Were there any drugs involved? Was there any other family situation which could have triggered it? Did he get any psychiatric support? If school was such a big problem, why didn’t his parents pull him out? What was the school supposed to do, reduce the academic standards which seem to fit so many other students? And how can you be so sure that he would have not ended his life later upon meeting other challenges? I am a son of Holocaust survivors who went through hell, I mean HELL, not just Orange County schools, and somehow they managed to recreate lives for themselves until they met their creators. My son succumbed to his internal hell. I am not blaming anyone other than God. May this kid rest in peace. My heart goes out to his parents. So sad, so tragic. No parent should experience this.


    1. So well said. I think there is far more to this tragedy than any of us will ever know. Its a shame such a great kid could not share his pain with any family member, councelor, or friend, which had he done so it may have saved his life. so sad!!! I pray for his family, rest in peace dear Patrick


  39. I think each teen suicide case is tragic, but unique. You can’t blame it on the parents, schools, peer pressure, or other outside pressure. I think there is something much deeper in these kids that cause them to take their own lives. The most important thing for parents, siblings, teachers, and friends is to recognize the signs.


  40. I was born and raised in the Netherlands. I came to the US in 1994. I heard the phrase “a productive member of society” soon after. For some reason it never has felt right to me. Like you’re just a cog in a machine. How about fulfilled member of society, happy, inspired. .. College is not for everyone. How about learning a craft. There are so many ways to be and provide for oneself.


  41. Well this is so very sad. Several young people in OC have been killed or committed suicide here in the early days of 2018.

    I understand that schools create a lot of pressure, but hello….have you seen the pressure that the parents put on the kids? Overscheduling in school sports, music, chess club, dance, travel sports teams. Do you think the teachers want to be high-pressure teachers? They’re only doing what the parents want from them..push push push for that 5.0 GPA and Valedictorian status.

    Know when it starts? So many people have priorities that don’t jive with child-rearing AND they also are not interested in being present for their kids.

    I think its sad when parents don’t want to make time for their kids as babies. Put ’em in daycare..I have a career to chase! Put ’em in all-day kindergarten, I have meetings! I need to buy a big house to impress people! I need a fancy car that I can’t even afford to buy (I lease!) We need to take fancy trips with our friends/neighbors/family to exotic destinations so that we look “cool” and “with it.” All of this takes $$$ so we need to make that next promotion, change jobs (and move) to get that next big bonus, etc etc. Once you get caught up in it, people find it tough to step back.

    What does this tell our children from a very young age? That you have to be scheduled and busy all the time and do things to make lots of money to impress others, even if we don’t really want to do it ourselves (at first) it becomes the standard and then it’s just like a hamster wheel. It also shows them that doing “free” or inexpensive things just are not to be pursued or valued. Someone had to make up the word “staycation” to make it sound Ok to just be home and hang out!

    I’m not a perfect parent by any means. I grew up at the beach with parents who were very high-strung & scheduled (family business) and tightly wound, but as kids we had few responsibilites during the week. All summer it was beach and more beach. Bikeriding several miles crossing 4-lane major boulevards to get to the city park and library.

    During the weekend we would often have to go work in the business, but not every weekend. School was different back then, but I was in a unique city-run magnet school that was rather high pressure for the day. Even then, our teachers were mostly aging hippies and kept us mellow. That was my salvation. That, and a strong ethnic and faith-centered household.

    I also had friends whose parents were “beach bums” and their casual lifestyle impressed on me a lot.

    As a parent I have encouraged my kids to do well in school – to use their abilities and natural talent in academics, sports, music–but only to the point of fun. If they’re no good at it and don’t enjoy it, they can quit. AND only one non-school activity at a time! The rest of their time they spent poking around empty fields, the neighborhood, hiking the hills, reading (we spent a LOT of time at the library and checking out books and movies to take home).

    If they have an interest in something–even if I don’t see the “value” in that pursuit or don’t agree with it, they can still pursue it. Unless it’s a dangerous (life/limb) kind of thing. Know why ? Because it’s all learning, and learning at THEIR OWN PACE AND DIRECTION! Kids need to explore in the dirt and read books about *whatever* and learn. Wander around with their posse and just do stuff. or nothing, like layy on the grass and look at the clouds. FOR AN HOUR. It’s OK if they fall asleep napping.

    Most kids don’t have the “luxury” of time anymore because neither parent is home to monitor/supervise and so the kids get dumped in daycare from the time they’re toddlers…then they are enrolled in before- and after- school care during K-8 along with sports and music and other endeavors, and then tutoring and more sports and drama/theatre and etc in 6-12. This is, of course, on top of the ridiculous long commutes some of them have to get to their private schools which are several cities away. Kids simply don’t have enough downtime and the opportunity to casually investiage things that interest them…and it’s not healthy.

    I pray that this family finds peace and comfort in the days and years ahead.
    I pray that the rest of us take a break and make changes in our lives to incorporate “nothing” for large stretches of time every day & week.

    There are so many ways our young people are crying out for help, telling us that the life we’re giving them is not what they want or can handle. How many kids do you know who are doing Hardcore drugs. Cutting. Failing in class. Have High Anxiety and on medications. Participating in Risky behavior of all kind which can end up in accidental death or deliberate suicide. None of this is worth a 5.0 GPA, a College acceptance letter to an Ivy League school…all of which you are hoping leads them to a high-pressure career with a big paycheck.

    Isn’t being a nice person and living a calm life important or valued anymore?

    rant over.


    1. Rant accepted. IMO it’s all about the college acceptance letter. Nothing will change until universities restructure their admission protocol.


  42. This is such a sad story! Unfortunately, there will be many more like this if we don’t change the system. I retired early from teaching because I couldn’t take the stress we were placing on our children and I was teaching elementary kids! All we did was language arts and math. No time for P.E., science, social studies, the arts. They have to pass the test!!! What happened to the whole child? It must change or we’ll lose many more of our beautiful children!!!


    1. First I pray for the families healing of this terrible loss. So sad.

      We used to live in the “OC bubble” and my boys attended a very well known private school in South OC. We moved away for many of the reasons this young man wrote about. That’s not to say this doesn’t happen anywhere else but we felt it was a good start.

      I would like to know how we got here. I don’t remember the pressure being what it is today when I was a teen in the 80’s to go to college. Something has changed and I feel it has come down from Colleges and big corporations as to what it takes to “get there”.

      I only did one year of JC as I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life with regard to a career. I would consider myself to have had a successful career by the time I got married earning a six figure salary – not that a salary is the ? for being successful or not. What I am try to convey is that an individuals idea of success is different for everyone and only you can decide for yourself.

      I had this exact discussion with both of my teenage boys after this tragedy occurred.

      I shared with my boys that regardless of what teachers, parents, friends etc. think “YOU” should do isn’t up to them – it’s up to you. Only you can decide how you want to live your life – in all aspects. If money, having nice vacations, a nice home etc. is what you want then you will have to figure out how to get there. There are many ways to do it. Tenacity goes a long way!!! Self-imposed pressure is much different that what this young was feeling.

      While I think things can begin to get fixed at the high school level is a good start, I think the real progress needs to come from the top and that is college. They need to adjust the standards. Then and only then, perhaps, will our kids not feel the extreme outside pressures they do today. At least I hope anyway.


      1. I believe we got here by emphasizing that you HAVE to get a college degree to be viewed as a “success” by society. From there, the competition to get into college has escalated, hence there are more kids applying for the same amount of openings.


  43. I agree… I think most schools do not care bout their students there is a big issue here in orangefield Texas we have lost three students to suicide due to bullying in the last two years and the school has taken NO ACTIONS towards doing anything about it even when children tell teacher n other faculty members.. we just lost a young lady January 30,2018 from suicide in the school! I pray one day they will listen but until then I will be the voice for them


  44. This article hit very close to home for me. This was my son a little over 2 weeks ago. A popular, straight A, 14 year old football player….who attempted suicide. There were many warning signs that most parents would attribute to just being a teen and not correlate to someone who would try to take their life. No one, including me, saw it coming.

    The pressure of being a teen is overwhelming, coupled with the stress of school, social media and the fear of being bullied. My son is in intensive treatment now…and still out of school. His father and I attempted to send him back a week ago on the advice of doctors….but unfortunately not all of his teachers understood the severity of what had happened to him. One teacher handed him a basket of papers his first day back and told him that was all of his makeup work that he needed to be completed that week. He was back out of school that next day. Mentally he wasn’t ready to deal with the aftermath and the schools aren’t either. While his principal was very supportive, that wasn’t the case with each of his teachers.

    When a child reaches this point….they don’t see a future for themselves and are very overwhelmed. Mentally, their brains aren’t developed enough to understand how to deal with all of the different pressures coming at them. It is hard for adults to learn to not only listen to what these kids are saying…but to really hear them and to take them very seriously. I am very lucky that one of my son’s friend’s notified me in time and I was able to get to him before he would have died. As I’ve learned recently, when a child lives through this type of trauma, society is not completely equipped to help them through it or to refrain from attaching a label to them as being “weird” or “different”. Parents, teachers and society really need to focus on this “epidemic” and not make it a taboo subject. Unfortunately the best care to help all of these kids is not easily accessible to every family. That needs to change. Until today, I have only shared my story with close friends, family, my son’s doctors and his school. It has to be “OK” for everyone to feel comfortable talking about this and to be prepared to help to stop it.

    I was one of those parents who always thought “not my child”. Today, “it is my child”, and I will do whatever I can now to help not only him, but to also make sure that it is not another parent’s child.


    1. So sorry this has happened. I’m happy that your boy is still with us. One day he will realize what is important and what isn’t. At his age, school is all he knows. God Bless.


    2. You never know Mary – I always thought: “not our child” – our son ended his life at age 26 two years ago. His friends called him Blueberrry – his own choice. His co-workers called him Gentle Giant. 6 feet 4 inches tall – 225 LBS – the kindest person I knew.

      He was eccentric, different, intelligent – he attracted the elderly and the little ones. Not appreciated by his dad or siblings (10 and 12 years older). I had seen his disgruntlement with life – he had books for all his problems, I had seen his frustrations a few times, but did not think that it would come to this. He had lost all hope – so said his notes.

      It was good of you to listen to his friend (and his friend may be in trouble too). Suicide becomes an option at some point. According to my son’s notes I found afterwards it had been on our son’s mind for a few years. Some friend who had the same thoughts (suicidal) as our son, had been notified by our son, but took no action.

      I do not know the extent that my spouse or other kids are suffering as we do not speak about it. The other kids are 38 and 40 years old and they and my spouse just want me to get over it. Which isn’t going to happen sometime soon. I am enrolled in a Murder/Suicide Survivor Group in Toronto. It helps a little.

      My personal friends have been my best support – no judgement. I have “no more expectations” from my kids and spouse.

      Hope that you can hang there Mary – take good care of your son – your job lies ahead of you.
      Rinske


  45. I shared this with my teenage daughter yesterday, including the letters, and I was completely shocked when her response was that she completely related to what was described at the school, and she knew of easily four students close to suicidal due to the pressure imposed. And while she goes to a decent catholic college prep high school, it is not a place I thought had anywhere near that kind of pressure. I was wrong.

    I was intending to share the letters with her school principal, are you able to share them privately? I would certainly like for some good to come from such a tragedy.


    1. Not at the present time. I applaud you for talking with your daughter. I don’t think many parents are aware of what the reality is at a competitive high school.


  46. This is heartbreaking. I don’t understand why the pressure is like this in high school ! Then, once they get through all that he’ll, they go to college which is completely different. They Have about 5 classes A WEEK and they’re not trying to trick you and your final is a couple of months after you begin the class. College makes sense. The way high school is is a complete recipes for disaster. Mentally it is aweful what hear kids go through. We need change!! We need to understand that kids do have many other issues besides studying for that trick test or doing 4 hours worth of homework. What about time to unwind or spend with family or enjoy something other than school work. It’s truly aweful and I am so sad and sorry for all the families that go through this. My heart aches for you and you’re in my prayers


  47. Totally agree!! Kids are not being allowed to just be kids. Enjoy life. There’s too much demand on them. My son struggles with school and sports. He loves playing soccer but trying to keep you with his school work, practice and games. It’s hard. He also wants to get a job to have spending money. We are not a rich family and not in a rich area so this is the norm for most teenage kids, to work. I do not remember these kinds of struggles when I was younger. We have come to expect to much out of our kids and it’s only getting worse. Not every child can handle this kind of pressure. We need to back off and let them enjoy life a little more. They’ll be depressed soon enough when real adulthood hits them.


  48. God bless Patrick’s family. The pain doesn’t end when a child commits suicide, in fact it continues for all of us. I’m so saddened that this young boy felt he had no other choice but to end his life. When will our schools wake up and allow our kids to be kids. When I was in high school we took the ACT to determine which math and English classes we could take, today it determines which college you can attend. My high school junior stayed home today because he is so overwhelmed with school. I told him at midnight to go to sleep and take a mental health day. Things need to change so we can save the next Patrick. Our deepest condolences to the Turner family.


  49. It always confuses me how as adults we go to work for 8/10/12 hours and get to go home. Students go to school all day and the teachers give them so much homework they do another 2-6 hours of homework. Why do teachers expect kids to work on school work for 12 hours? Actually, WHY DO SCHOOLS/TEACHERS/DISTRICTS EXPECT CHILDREN TO PERFORM FOR 12+ HOURS!!!!!
    I guarantee 80% of adults get exhausted working 5-12’s. Right? Adults get grumpy when they don’t get enough sleep. Imagine kids and their needs. Then add to that the multiple hours of sports practice. For what? A banner on the school gym wall? So the coach is highlighted? So the athlete is one of 6% that recruited in the State.
    Parents who say no – their child is flunked, benched, and college is eradicated… As parents we are forced to push our children to accept these conditions and help cushion them to succeed.
    Don’t get me wrong… I am nearly a Tiger Mom! I push my kids to be successful but I feel 4 hour practices and homework is excessive. My kids should ONLY bring homework home if they couldn’t finish it in class, NOT if there wasn’t enough time in the class to cover the material and complete the lesson.


  50. Today we send our kids to the best competitive schools with the hopes they get into another competitive University and do well so they can then compete again for a high paying competitive career. This is not what life is about. Life is NOT about being the best and pushing ourselves for more material goods which never satisfy. Its sbout being the BEST HUMAN BEING who is kind to others, who shows compassion and tolerance. Who remembers who the President of Standard Oil was 20 yrs ago? Yet almost everyone remembers who Mother Teresa was. Money and things do not make us happy. Nor does popularity. Strong family values who share in a sense of community and who strive to be loving and understanding to others is far superior than succeeding on a test or getting a degree from Yale or Harvard – Because at the end of our lives we will look back and wonder if we climbed the wrong or right ladder. Dont misinterpret what i am saying here and think i blame his family – i dont because we are only guilty if we know better. But i do hope this highlights the critical importance of teaching our children that its good to succeed BUT ITS NOT EVERYTHING.


      1. I think when we lose sight of BALANCE in our own lives its difficult to help our own children find it as well. Our son decided against our wishes and did not go to college even though both of us have Master’s Degrees. He did not want to go that route of hating his job and feeling stuck because of monetary and psychological concerns. So, he decided to go into business for himself and is doing very well. Hes happy and has time for his friends. I suppose it all depends how we define success. Id rather have our son be happy than forced to show up at a job that is not satisfying though paying better. Kids ARE smarter today and more mature so maybe it behooves all parents to have a good sit down with their kids periodically and ask for them to be honest about how things are going. Perhaps that would be a good time for the parents to remind them how very deeply we love them and ask what else we can do to help them during these stressful times.


  51. This is so so true what you speak of. One of the thing that bother me is adhd..ocd…whatever. .what happened to being outgoing full of energy opposed to more laid back. .DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES DIFFERENT WAY OF LEARNING WE ARE ALL NOT THE SAME..The pressure is to much..lost my daughter 8 years ago..my grandson is now being homeschooled because of this very thing. Watch your children they are all not the same. I’m 54 years old and I also still have this energy and learn in a different way. May he rest in peace prayers for all involved.


  52. Life is not fun anymore, grow up and being a kid is important. It let you find who you are. You need to take step in growing up, you need to experience all the stages. It’s like walking before crawling…. Yuck, yes don’t push your children let them experience life one step at a time.


  53. I agree completely! My oldest daughter is 16 years old & in 11th grade. She has 2 honor’s classes. She does ROTC and Marksmanship. By the time I get off work and pick her up she has already done her Marksmanship practice and has started her homework. She works on her homework as I make dinner. We eat and she continues homework. A lot of times she stays up late to finish. A lot of time she wakes up the extra early to try to finish her homework. And, then a lot of the time she will have to do more at her lunch hour the next day to complete everything. THIS IS RIDICULOUS! She has NO life! In the three years she has been in high school she’s only spent the night at a friend’s house one time. She has homework every weekend as well. She has LOTS of friends, that is not the problem. She’s a very upbeat and happy girl…… Thank God! It’s few and far between for her to even get to hang out with a friend on the rare occasion. One weekend she had one of really good friends have a birthday party. I said, “don’t you like her anymore?” She told me, ” No, of course I do. I love her! She’s one of my best friends. I just have too much homework to do.” THIS breaks my heart! I don’t know how she just doesn’t give up with all this school, it’s just so much! I myself, would have given up…it’s just too much! I wish the teachers would realize this. I want to email all her teachers and let them know what they’re doing. I don’t know if it would help?

    Signed,

    a very frustrated mother.


  54. How tragic! I feel fso so badly for the family, friends and community!

    My son was in the same boat 25 years ago with honors’ classes, FB and BB. These issues are not new. His schedule started in mid-August. He was up virtually every school night until 11:30pm. It was mentally and physically strenuous and concerned me! Thank God we didn’t have the same outcome!

    My son was self-motivated and very competitive in athletics and academics..Did those traits make the difference? He felt no pressure from the school. Although, he was pressured by a few teachers.

    In our family 4 past generations have college grads. At a young age children knew the family beliefs on studying and education. Did that culture make a difference?

    While I know none of the above will help this family, maybe it will help other families.


  55. Why the hell would they need to practice baseball for 41/2 hours?or basketball, football ‘soccer, volleyball etc for longer then 2 hours? Parents need to be more pro active on that account if 4 hrs of homework is the “norm”. I’m a retired teacher that majored in physical ed so athletics have always been important to me and mine. Also taught high school social studies for half me teaching years and excessive homework is not productive


  56. Tom, I hate to see a young life squandered. I have a 19 year old that is now playing JUCO baseball. All I keep
    Seeing is the youth on youth bullying is a problem, but nobody talks about the teacher/coach bullying. That is where a lot of the problems lie, the problem I see is a lot of the kids can handle most of the bullying from another child/teenager but when it comes to handling the bullying from adults it is another story. These kids are forced to take the bullying from adults because they are in charge and not to be questioned. My son had is senior season ruined by his high school baseball coach, it was so bad he refused to go to his end of season banquet. He was a strong kid that never questioned or disrespected the treatment he was given. A lot of kids don’t make it through the treatment he did, he knew he was good enough to play at the next level and he went out and garnered a full scholarship on his own to play baseball. But for everyone like my son there are 10’s of 100’s of kids that don’t survive that treatment. These kids are told they suck, they’ll never amount to anything and even worse. This is bullying make no mistake about it and these teachers and coaches need to be held accountable and lose their jobs.


  57. No, I do not. Homework and the drive to succeed does not drive you to suicide.
    Despair, lack of Godly knowledge and an undiagnosed depressive state.


  58. I wrote like 5 responses here, and then decided not to publish them, for various reasons. I don’t want to be misinterpreted.

    BUT now I have to publish this. WHY did you remove the letters? I read them already, and I remember him saying it was to WHOEVER was reading it. HE WANTED TO BE HEARD. Do you not understand that, just like the movie “13 reasons why”, HE DEPENDED UPON THOSE LETTERS TO CREATE CHANGE IN THE WORLD AND EXPRESS WHY HE KILLED HIMSELF. So sad. Please reply, and explain why. Did the family request the letters be removed? Either way, that’s lack of integrity. The kid had more integrity. Now I’m actually getting a bit angry/worked up. THIS (removing the letters) IS THE SAME BEHAVIOR THAT CAUSED THIS KID TO KILL HIMSELF! (I’m thinking out loud… not trying to be accusations or blaming anyone for anything): PEOPLE KEEP BRUSHING THE DIRT UNDER THE RUG. By removing these letters your actions (again, this reflects the facts, NOT WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON) are the SAME as the school administrators that just “clean things up” so that they are “OC-bubble worthy” and more “under cover.” Politically correct.

    Please explain more. Right now I’m feeling as if one of the only blogs on the internet that actually had some balls and integrity just went to the dark side. Thank you. Please don’t take this personally; it’s just my insight.


  59. You CAN get your kids out of the pressure cooker of academic and athletic competition. When kids spend time on their own small businesses they can find real success for their efforts and open up a world of options. See KidCEOSchool.com for info.


  60. My fervent prayers are with this family! This hits home deeply with my own concerns as a mother! This tragedy did not have to happen! What can we do to see change as a nation?!

    I have a son who is “not” medicated for and has delays in his processing in school. I feel sure me and my husband both had these delays or lack of focus in our youth. We both have our college education with extra effort for our delays. I got my masters degree too. As a family we have chose to not have our son medicated with focus medicine or antidepressants for feeling blue. I understand medicating with Adderal (a derivative of Meth.) and Vivance (very similar to cocaine) is the norm with students to perform better in school. Most of society do not see the great ramifications this over medicating has on the pressure to perform higher, the developing brain and the pressure on the kids who choose not to be medicated. The self esteem issues if you do not “get” something as quickly like my son. Parents often choose the quick fix for their own anxiety and their kids for school performance! There are bad side effects and statistics show concentration meds change the wiring of the developing brain. Youth are more stressed, a change in personality, get more agitated and lose their appetite! Their body craves the drugs when taken off and literally go through withdrawals and are hateful and angry in the process. This the parents put them back on the meds thinking they have to have the drug to be ok. There is a higher risk of suicide with kids who are medicated with focus meds and antidepressants. Why do the doctors still prescribe them?!!! It is crazy! These statistics need to be addressed! The pharmaceuticals need to be accountable for the addiction and the high suicide rates in the past 20 years. Not to mention the higher rate of shootings from individuals who have been medicated.

    I have a niece who went into drug rehab. from getting addicted to focus meds. She craved them when taken off. They blamed her for the addiction and not the medicine! Goodness what a joke! No accountability on the pharmaceuticals or doctors prescribing them! They said she has an addictive personality! Added all is highly addictive!!! It is a narcotic! Most my sons classmatss are medicated on some form of focus meds.

    My son says his classmates smoke marijuana to counter the focus medicine’s side effects. They have to come down from the stimulants and lose their appetite. He has been offered the narcotics by classmates to try to do better in testing. Which is against the law and he could go to jail and the youth offering it to him. He feels pressured to perform better in school! The temptation is there for him! The students lose lots of weight and in turn and smoke marijuana to get their appetite back.

    If we do not address the pressure society is putting on our youth, we will continue to see more suicides and more school shootings. I cannot speak with enough urgency in the need to let kids not feel inadequate if the are average students or even B students. I worry about my son and him getting depressed and over stressed without medication. It is a vicious cycle! I pray for our youth and the teachers and worry greatly for our nation. It is a crazy time and is just as much of a problem in private schools as public. The expense to a family is $300 a month to medicate our youth. A big greed ridden business that big Pharma have heft law suits slapped on them for the addiction problem and increase in suicides! Yet, big pharmacy is too powerful and hides behind an educated doctor who is endoctrinated to believe it is the answer to better grades in school! Not looking at the terrible ramifications!

    We must figure out away to not let this boys death be in vain and be a stark “wake up call” for other potential youth tragedies! May God comfort those youth and parents dealing with this loss and the families like mine who have serious worry for our kids and this generation!


  61. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this situation. I homeschool my children in the Midwest, but our dear friends live very, very close to where they found Patrick. They have been in Orange County for a few years to do Campus ministry at UCI. We have visited twice and both times I felt a sense of pressure and competition in the culture that isn’t common here. It’s here and it’s a problem all over the world and in the US, but there was a heightened sense of it in Orange Country that I haven’t felt before. I even noticed it in the churches in a very unhealthy way. Pressure to perform, to be wealthy, to be beautiful, but not to be fully human. I am a part of a very grassroots effort to educate parents on how to train, educate and raise up their children as whole persons. I utilize an educational Philosophy written by a brilliant British woman of the 19th century named Charlotte Mason. She based her educational philosophies on the Gospels of Christ, brain science of her time and observations of how children really learned. Her schools were all over the British Empire at the time of her death in the 1920’s. There is a revival of her methods and philosophy in Homeschools, Private schools and Charter schools in the US. I am reaching out here because it appears you live locally. I am aware that an educational conference will be taking place on these life giving educational methods of Charlotte Mason this July only about an hour East of Orange county. I think that one really fabulous response to this horrific situation would be that church members from the area could join together to lean about educational reform and seek to create change in the culture around you locally. One way that could happen is for teams of you to attend this Charlotte Mason Conference in July and come back home and host events for parents and even public educators on how to reform education at school and in homes to help children. I have shared the link to this conference. The workshop information isn’t available yet for CA, but the Eastern Conference ( Virginia) is up and will give you an idea of what to expect for the CA conference. It’s a beautiful Educational Philosophy. I will also attach several other resources for parents and community members who might want to learn about how to implement this in the Orange County Area. Praying for peace for Patrick’s family, for the school students who knew him, and for the school district and the community to respond rightly to this situation and carefully make the needed reforms in schools so that Children are treated as Whole persons and not academic factories. May God give help and grace to those willing to step in and serve at such a difficult time as this!

    Western Conference: https://www.charlottemasoninstitute.com/page-18653

    Eastern Conference with more details so you can see what to expect at the CA event: https://www.charlottemasoninstitute.com/page-18373

    Here’s a fabulous blog where you can get first hand knowledge about the Education Philosophy: http://charlottemasonpoetry.org/topical-index/

    And if anyone seeks to start schools using new educational Models, You could seek out Either Charlotte Mason Institute for more info ( see above with the conferences) or Ambleside Schools international: https://www.amblesideschools.com/main/charlotte-mason

    Or to start a Charlotte Mason Home school co-op or small Cottage school, check out Charlotte Mason in Community to learn more! http://www.charlottemasonincommunity.com/educational-cooperative.html

    I hope this can help some families seek change for the community in a variety of ways!


  62. So sad. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends Pat left behind. His pain is now multiplied exponentially. I can say that with confidence as we lost our 35 year old son on November 5th. Ryan was like Pat and so many others. He wasn’t in his right mind. There is always a way to get through.
    Ryan left all of us, his family, friends, surfer tribe and CalFire family. Most tragically he left a wife and son. He was a natural at everything he did. Had every qualification he could have as a Captain with CalFire. His 15 year career as a first responder, along with family struggles and financial issues, his hidden depression, PTSD and an over active empathy to take on others pain shortened our sons life to just 35 years. He rests in peace with our Lord!
    There are thousands who wish they could have truely known the depth of Ryans illness, especially his wife, mother and myself. But as a high level operator, he was also very good at hiding it. The highs and lows of his depression were passed off as him being a “moody” person. I’m a moody person! What was different in my son?
    My only current take away is this. Current culture. Social media in particular. Dopamine addiction to positive emogies. Culture demands and friendships are too often artificial and faked. I had a great relationship with my son, not perfect though. Not intimate, clearly not in the trenches with him. I felt held at bay by this devise in my hand right now. He would not answer the phone too often but would text back instantly.
    Wake up people, parents, friends. If this story and any other suicide story, of which one every 11.9 minutes another occurres, bothers you, do something, change something. Our kids are dying!
    God help us all..
    Pop


  63. Tom, you’ve done it again. You’ve touched the deepest part of our hearts with this powerful call and challenge to encourage young people with hope. You’re a bright light in the darkness and an inspiration. Keep up the great work.


    1. Thank you, Dr. Cardoza. As you know, being a seminary professor, the incredible pressure young people are under. I’d love to spend time with you and discuss it.


  64. Yes, i totally agree! I am sincerely sorry for your loss and pray for you. We must stop the insanity and pressure on our children! May God be with you and let’s make a difference in this horrific situation our kids live in daily❣️❤️✝️


  65. It’s the same way in Lake Oswego, OR. Too many pressures on kids to achieve in top schools , too much homework and no time left to be just kids. Something’s got to change


  66. Another victim to the pressure. Thank-you for being honest and sharing the truth.

    We have to make structural changes. The academic pressure, exam stress and college application pressure needs to be addressed. Schools need to understand that these are risk factors for suicide. California just passed a bill for suicide prevention for this reason.

    My son just died by suicide because he was stressed about academic performance.

    https://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.personalCampaign&participantID=1520783


    1. I am very sorry, Monica. That’s terrible. Thanks for sharing. Do you have more info on the CA. bill concerning suicide?


      1. Sorry to step in without invitation, but the California bill is AB-2246 and it was passed and signed by the Governor in September 2016. Read all about it here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB2246

        However, I would like to say that there are other ways also to give light to and relief from troubling emotions. Art and music are healing. Even writing. (and, maybe some are laughing or stopped reading at that comment.) These non-judgmental approaches nurture communication and often let a person express themselves without fear or embarrassment. No tests, no labelling, no outcasting. Communication (if they are willing to play at it) is key.
        Sometimes the victim is not the problem. But, they are afraid to call out the abusers. PLEASE continue to nurture the arts and music in high schools. Those subjects are not frivolous, and often essential for the blooming of an individual. Being kind is sometimes not enough. Being communicative is a good avenue toward success. And, there are many trained professionals who agree and know sources.
        Leo Tolstoy (that guy that wrote the book War and Peace that no one had time to read all the way through -lol) has defined art in a book he wrote (and I suggest ALL teachers in high school be required to read it, digest it, and learn from it – even if they are language or STEM teachers).

        “Tolstoy conceptualizes art as anything that communicates emotion:’Art begins when a man, with the purpose of communicating to other people a feeling he once experienced, calls it up again within himself and expresses it by certain external signs’.” He also states that when a person expresses themselves in that way, others may feel a connection with that very same emotion displayed.

        “What Is Art? is a book by Leo Tolstoy. It was completed in Russian in 1897, but first published in English due to difficulties with the Russian censors.

        I also suggest a small field trip for Newport Beach schools or families. Walk through the Sculpture Garden at the City Civic Center off Avocado by the library. Exercise, freedom, and art in one place. There are no “right” answers there. But a great time to LET words flow. Even the most talented sports figure should take that walk and talk, even if it to denounce art because that, in itself, is a communication. No judgement. Free speech.

        Many students gather at that main library in their cliques to study. And, to some, it is a home away from home. It is a great environment. Just recently, there was a program offered free that had Dad’s and their small children writing a story together. By then end of the day, they had a keepsake in the form of a book with pictures. Keep in touch with the NBPL programs as they arise and those of the NB City Arts Commission. The NB AC currently has a contest (with all entries recognized on a website) for photography in the Sculpture Park. Take a picture of one or more of the pictures and submit it (except the bunnies – those are not considered sculptures in the park, but kids love them,) Take a picture and caption it. Talk about it Even if its a negative comment, silly, or what have you. Go play!
        For more information: http://www.newportbeachca.gov/government/departments/library-services/cultural-arts/photo-contest


  67. Yes, this is so sad, we leave in an affluent area in the SF Bay Area and the pressure the kids are under is ridiculous. We have tried to be a balance to our kids offering them an ear and support when it just feel like way to much. The letters he wrote were the most telling. why are they not showing anymore. This extrodinary young man had a message to tell. Although your article is very good, the words directly from him are what really got my attention.


  68. I do think kids should have fun and highschool is a place to get educated, but in more than one way. The students should be learning how to socialize as well as education. I would not be who I am today without the balance I had in highschool and college. How do we change the system?


  69. Agree, there is absolutely no balance for college kids who participates in sports, is employed at a part time job, enjoys a social life and a full time academic student. These kids want to be the best at everything they do and are stressed to keep it all together and do well in each facet of their college years. They are expected to succeed at a specific level. Somethings got to give. I could see this dilemma turning into depression for those kids who dont have a strong support system.


    1. I don’t think they want to be the best at what they do, it’s they HAVE to be the best in order to get to the next level. Sad.


  70. We need to ask ourselves as parents: why are we even allowing state funded schools like UCLA to give international students 10,000 seats per school year? In schools funded by taxpayers money? Should our kids who are American citizens and Californian residents have priority? That’s why getting admitted into these schools for our kids are more difficult than a camel getting through the eye of a needle. Our kids are stressed out even while in high school, keeping their excellent grades, joining school clubs, etc. and hopefully get admitted to UCLA, UCI, UC Berkley. Our babies should be enjoying sports, friends, music, leisure time instead of these grueling homeworks. Yet with all these preparations for college, our kids have no guarantee because they are competing with the world. Parents, we should unite and protest these so crooked admission policies in our state funded schools. Let me share this.

    From the Daily Bruins, November 18, 2014.

    “UCLA has the sixth largest population of international students enrolled at its campus, according to a report published Monday by an independent nonprofit organization.

    The Open Doors Report showed that UCLA has admitted about 9,580 international students for the 2013-2014 academic year, an increase of 13.7 percent from last year. UCLA has continued to rank sixth in this report for the past four years.

    The Institute of International Education, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, publishes the Open Doors report annually.

    “In recent years, UCLA has sought out additional international students as a way to enrich the educational experience by exposing all students to diverse backgrounds and perspectives,” said Phil Hampton, UCLA spokesman. “In addition, students from outside California pay enhanced tuition, helping to ensure a level of funding needed to maintain academic excellence amid long-term reductions in state support.”

    The top five countries that UCLA’s international students come from are China, South Korea, India, Canada and Taiwan.

    In the United States, the total number of international students enrolled in higher education for the 2013-2014 academic year is about 886,050, an increase of 8 percent compared to last year.

    According to the report, 37 percent of international students in the U.S. come from China and Saudi Arabia. Last year, China and Saudi Arabia contributed to 94 percent of the increase in number of international students. However, this year, these countries only contributed to 73 percent of the increase.”

    This is a very depressing report.
    Edgardo Abalos
    A concerned parent of a high school student


  71. I completely agree!!!!!! Hits very close to home. I stopped asking kids if where they were going to college after I learned the hard way how much pressure the kids feel to perform at such high standards. My daughter made it through but it all and is now ok with not getting As All the time.


  72. My question is, as a parent, I simply would not allow this kind of schedule and pressure in the first place. Sometimes you have to say no in order to protect your kids mental health. Driving home the point of good grades and doing your best is expected. But something wasnt right if his paremts knew what kind of pressure he was under and didnt find another way to get him to where he wanted to go. They have to learn to cope, yes, however this is ridiculous. Should not have been allowed to continue like that.


  73. If you don’t mind, I would like to read this young mans letters. Can you email them to me. I would like some insight into what our young people are going through and think of ways to help. How did he commit suicide? This is so very sad.


  74. My sons has persistence ulcers through out his high school years , the pressure is horrible


    1. It all comes down to a matter of priorities. The pressure is “horrible” because your son CHOOSES to fall into that trap of putting pressure on himself.


      1. Blaming a kid for choosing to fall under societal pressure seems pretty obtuse. He fell under it because he wasn’t developmentally capable of seeing the forest for the trees, because of all the academic overemphasis in the culture at large and especially in the immediate neighborhood. As adults it’s hard enough to find someone else who find’s it abhorrent, but we ferret each other out somehow. His observations were entirely valid. Sadly, he couldn’t find a bigger context and hope


  75. As a child/teen therapist, working with affluent clients, one of the best resources I have ever come across is the book, The Price of Priviledge by Madeline Levine. This book Amazingly summarizes the epidemic of “voidness” that encompasses our youth and the mentality that you must be “the best at everything” or “you are good at nothing” becomes truth and reality to these kids. Breaks my heart to read this article and pray everyday our educators, clinicians, administrators, and higher academia begin to do their part in being open to communicating the reality of this world is that you were gifted with a purpose to grow and refine and use….not 100.


  76. I understand the natural reaction to want to blame someone or something. This is a truly horrible tragedy. I 100% agree that the letter have no place on line and it disappoints me that so many people are asking for them. The letters are not necessary to allow for important discussions about young people and the pressures they come under. The mental health professionals I have spoken to caution that posting the letters can bring more harm than good. I think this is best reflected in the fact that this week we have lost another young person to suicide in Laguna. The attention of the original postings and others floating around can encourage those struggling to see suicide as a good option. Patrick did not publish these himself nor did the family so no one should be posting them. This event however should lead us to reflect on how things can be better. Each year across the country too many young people die by suicide and we need to combat that.

    I think that there are also a lot of misconceptions about this incident and the school in general. Yes, the community that feeds this school helps foster pressure and competitiveness but it is that community, not the school that is the genesis of the pressure. Patrick was a great kid and him and his family are beloved by the community and school. He had no AP or honors courses and A/Bs in all subjects. The grades were good and not hinged on remaining so by the upcoming finals. That being said, this is clearly not how he internalized and perceived the situation. This is a mental health issue. Mental health is a topic we all need to really address as a community and nation.

    The school being fed by a community where pressures to be successful exist, has students who can be very competitive. No school is perfect and this one is no exception. Every person and place can do better. However, the school really is sensitive to these pressures and has done a great many things to combat and lower those pressures – real or perceived. That is getting overlooked here because Patrick made references specifically to the school that were negative. The truth is, he also made some positive ones.

    When someone is upset for whatever reason they can say or write things that might not actually be how they feel holistically about something or may not actually be the facts. Anyone who spends times with teens know how being a teenager is a tough and awkward time. I know this to be the case personally raising two at the moment. They change how they see and feel about things a lot. As a mother, I also know that how they perceive events is not always how they are. My kids go to this school and I know the family hit by this tragedy. I also can tell everyone that the school has done a great deal over the years my kids have been there to mitigate pressure among students and from parents. For example, the school has a mental health facility and program on campus. The counselors sponsor events for parents throughout the year to come in and talk, “coffee with the counselors”, and the meetings always include ways to lower pressure, be supportive and to not fixate on grades. There are a ton of activities, clubs and programs to bring about more inclusion, to be kind, and to promote good character. There is a facebook page that sends out positive happenings on campus and highlights things the kids are doing everyday. One of the things I appreciate most is the resources for life beyond high school. The SRC on campus has resources for students to research community colleges, vocational programs, and universities. Everyday there are notices about who is coming to speak and visit at the SRC which does include everything from the armed forces, culinary arts, small and large colleges, and community colleges. They also help kids with the application process for those programs. My point is that this school does offer a lot to kids and it is not just about GPA and Ivy Leagues. A lot of my kids friends were upset when the school moved to a block schedule a couple years ago and then got rid of class ranking. I think those were terrific. The school felt it would lower anxiety and I have definitely seen that to be the case. Every Back to School night or interaction with teachers has always emphasized that it is not all about the grades. It has always been supportive and positive. That being said, the kids themselves fuel the pressure everyday. I hear the kids all the time hanging out in my house comparing grades. I hear parents bragging about college acceptances of their children and signing up for all kinds of things that add to the atmosphere – college counselors for middle school kids, SAT camps, tutors, blah blah blah. The email thread that goes through my neighborhood is constantly a buzz on which teachers kids should take and which to avoid in order to insure the highest GPAs, which college counselor to hire to write their kids college essays, etc.

    Since the suicide, I have had the opportunity to listen to the family speak publicly twice. Both occasions they said the school is not to blame, Patrick made a horrible mistake, and they hope this will bring to light ways we can all do even better. I hope that is the case. I know I have spent a lot of time reflecting on how I can lower this in my own home and with my own kids and I hope others will too.


    1. Steph, Thanks for the comment. I agree on most parts of your analysis. I don’t agree that the school is non-complicit. The school is part of the community, thus, they need to held accountable, especially with Pat calling them out. Even if they are doing well, when something like this happens, and it is verified by many, things need to change. The trouble is when a certain segment of those handling this pressure choose to end their life, then there is something going on that needs to be found out and discussed. Again, thanks for the comment and good luck with your kids. It sounds like you are doing a great job.


  77. I agree my son in his first year at Santa Barbara University and he’s constantly depressed he doesn’t have time to talk to anyone and doesn’t feel like doing it and I’ve been worry but I tell him it’s time to be a grown up now but I get confused of what I tell him, he’s been an A student since 4th grade and I pushed him a lot, he tells mom it’s hard I work I’m studying physics I sleep 5 hours a day or less I’m scared something may happen but I don’t want to tell him go ahead and have fun cuz he’ll be losing his scholarship and that’s what he wanted to go and study, I’m going crazy I also get angry with him cuz most the times he doesn’t text me and sounds like he hates me once in a while I text him and tell him I love u but if u don’t care about me I don’t care about u either I just don’t know what to do, I don’t help him with a lot of money cuz I can’t that’s y he needs to work. I do not agree with all the pressure this kids get since they go to 4th grade truth high school not even with PE it looks like the army and the teacher yells at them and nobody does anything. We need to change the system kids should not have any homework and need to start school later like in some parts of Europe. When we signs of sadness or depression tell the kids they need to have fun too and I don’t know I need advise


  78. Schools today do put to much pressure on these kids. This past year my oldest is a senior in high school in Pleasanton, Ca. At the beginning of the his Jumior year I had him drop Spainish 3 as my son struggles academically in school and already knowing that he is going to a community college and not straight to a state or university college he didn’t need it. So what does the counselor say to him when he requested the change; “aren’t you going to a University?” I could have pulled her hair out! I stepped up to her and said “ I can’t believe you asked a child that, of course he going to college. Not every student goes directly to a state or University from HS. You don’t know anything about my son academically or his financial back ground. She just made him feel terrible about himself.” I do wish all the Seniors the best of luck who are going directly to the big schools, but let’s not forget about that’s not the only way to go. Wishing a happy and content future for all,


  79. Sad, sad and sad! Shame on you CDHS, the worthless Principal and school administration. I hope you sleep well at night knowing you contributed to this teens suicide especially that fucking bitch of a language teacher he had. Why do you tolerate emotional abuse at your school? Do you think that’s effective? It’s assholes like you that screw up the spirit of children. Does it make you feel powerful to degrate kids? How can kids even reach there full potential at your high school when you act that way. Great learning tactics! It’s not cool to bully! You need to get your asses sued!


  80. every child takes to school differently, so don’t be so easy to blame the teachers, it’s much deeper than just a tough time with school!! We have all had a teacher that we did not respect, but was it enough to end your life???

Do you agree? Let me know.