San Ramon Valley High Principal Joseph Ianora is encouraging parents to talk to their children about the loss of their classmate, Alliy Bayliss, .
Students may be able to cope better when they're urged to talk about their feelings, he said.
Here's the text of a letter he sent to parents this afternoon:
To San Ramon Valley High parents,
I am deeply saddened to inform you that the police have called off the search for Allison Bayliss, and that they believe that she took her own life. This tragedy touches the lives of all of us in the San Ramon Valley High School community and our heartfelt sympathy is with Alliy’s family.
Understanding that many students and parents already have this information, we felt the need to communicate to our community as soon as possible.
We will do everything in our power to support our students, staff and parents this week and into the future, as our community deals with this terrible loss. The district crisis team, including school counselors and psychologists from our school and other district schools, will be on campus through the week. Our staff has already been informed and is meeting to talk about how we can best provide support to our students.
Additionally, district administrators will be present on the campus to assist the staff with a variety of needs. While the school and district staff will continue to provide support during the school day, there are things you can do to support your child as well.
Some common grief symptoms that you may see in your child include: sudden changes in behavior, lack of appetite, difficulty in focusing, acting silly or angry, feelings of worthlessness or self-hatred, and expressing unexpected emotion. Some students may withdraw. How children work though their grief depends largely on how family members reach out to them. The more children are encouraged to share their feelings, the more they will be able to cope with their loss. Acknowledging loss together as a family, can give comfort and support, even in the midst of pain and sorrow.
Our school psychologists are also available to parents during school hours. Additionally, there are available, including Discovery Counseling Center (925-820-1988) and the Contra Costa Crisis Center (800-273-8255).
We know that many of you will want to express your care and concern. At this time the school is respecting the family’s privacy. Until we have more information, if you would like to send cards or other condolences, please send them to the school office, and we will deliver them to the family.
During this difficult time, the care and concern of each member of our school community is our highest priority as we grieve this loss together. Please feel free to contact the school if you have any questions.
Principal [Joseph Ianora]