Administration deploys crisis team in response to death of senior

Amy Lin and Allie Feitzinger

The Counseling & Wellness departments are open for students affected by the recent deaths in the district — one teacher and one student. “At Paly we work really hard to create an environment were students feel safe to turn to any trusted adult,” wellness outreach worker Angelina Michael said. “That can be coming to the Wellness Center, going to a staff member or the administrators. Especially during difficult times, we pay extra close attention to students’ needs. … But we’re always here, whether it’s [under] difficult circumstances or not.” Photo: Amy Lin

As students and staff grapple with the loss of both a student and a local middle school teacher within the span of a week, the Palo Alto High School administration has deployed its crisis team to provide support for those affected.

The death of Greene Middle School teacher Kyle Hart on Dec. 17 was followed almost immediately by the death of Paly senior Danilo Perez. The administration has been formulating an appropriate response to the recent losses.

“I am honoring their [the Perez family] request to not send out all staff/student emails,” Principal Adam Paulson said in an email to The Paly Voice. “Our school has a Crisis Response Team who has met for both of last week’s tragedies. We discussed and implemented a thorough plan of support for students and staff on campus.”

According to James Hamilton, the guidance counselor for seniors, the Crisis Response Team consists of the Wellness Department, counselors, psychologists and administrators. The team met at the earliest opportunity and is working to ensure that they contact students who were impacted by Hart’s and Perez’s passings.

“[Students and staff who] worked with Mr. Hart, or worked with the student [Perez] — we want to make sure that we go and connect with them because this is terribly upsetting stuff,” Hamilton said. “We want to make sure that they’re okay, what kind of support they need and what have you.”

As students mourn the loss of Perez, senior Livia Carlson remembers her interactions with him.

He was very funny and always kind to me,” Carlson said. “He always made me laugh. Danilo’s death made me very upset. I hadn’t seen him in a while but it was tough knowing I would never get to hear his jokes or his laugh or get another high-five or hug from him again.”

On Thursday, Dec. 12, police officers found Perez with gunshot wounds at the 1200 block of Beech Street in East Palo Alto, the site of a ShotSpotter gunshot detection, according to a Palo Alto Online article.

Individuals with information about the case are advised to email [email protected] or to send a voicemail or text message to 650-409-6792.

Other Resources:

Crisis Text Line: Text “BAY” to 741741

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Santa Clara County Suicide and Crisis Hotline: 1-855-278-4204

Youth and Teen Suicide and Crisis Hotline: 1-888-247-7717