Search called off on SRV teen

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by Ritika Iyer, staff writer

More than 1,000 people dressed in blue gathered at the Danville Congregational Church on May 25 to remember the life of San Ramon Valley High School sophomore Allison Bayliss.

The vigil, which included prayers and the lighting of candles, was held because 15-year-old Danville student had not been missing for two days and was believed to have committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Various search teams across the Bay Area were dispatched on May 24 and hundreds of volunteers joined the search effort, including Cal High Principal Mark Corti’s son, Troy, who helped pass out flyers.

According to an article inthe San Francisco Chronicle, Allison was believed to have boarded a BART train in Dublin on the morning of May 23, and eventually rode her black and purple bike near the Golden Gate Bridge, where it was found the next day.

After reviewing video footage from the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco police confirmed that Allison was seen coming onto the bridge, but not coming off.

With this information, the police department stopped the search on May 25, switching

the case to a water recovery operation, in case of a possible suicide.

Allison’s body had not been recovered as of Wednesday, more than a week after her disappearance.

Allison, a honors student and a junior varsity swimmer at San Ramon Valley, was supported the day after her disappearance when hundreds of students came to her school dressed in blue, her favorite color.

On night she went missing, a few of Allison’s friends created a Facebook group called Find Alliy Bayliss to raise awareness about her disappearance.

News traveled fast, and after about 24 hours, there were over 9,000 group members–all raising hope for Allison’s return.

“It says a lot about the San Ramon Valley community,” Troy Corti  said in an interview with Danville Patch.

“Everyone is trying to do whatever they can to help,” he was quoted as saying.  “Even those who can’t make it out there are doing their part.”

Many students in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District seemed to be more affected by this apparent suicide because of its close proximity to home.

“It affects everybody, because we are all connected,” said Corti. “Its sad. For some reason, somebody has lost hope.”

Many Cal High students have been emotional about the event, including students that have never met Allison before.

“Even though I didn’t know Alliy Bayliss, it was still sad to hear the news about her death,” said sophomore Kiana Kramer. “So many people came together to find her and it is horrible to think that they will never get their daughter, friend, or peer back.”

Because this apparent suicide happened so close to Cal, it put life in perspective for many students and administrators, making suicide prevention a top priority.

“We are always concerned about the safety of our students. Collectively as a staff, we look for signs and signals and react immediately,” said Corti. “Is there heightened awareness right now? Yes.”

Bullying, which Corti and several publications reported  that may have played a role in Allison’s disappearance, seems to be a common recurring factor in teen suicides across the nation.

“It (bullying) can be part of the problem,” Corti said. “I think we have think we have things in place to help with it, prevent it from happening.”

According to Cal High school psychologist Wendy Isaacs, the most effective way to treat bullying at school is to stand up for what is right.

“The bystanders need to stand up,” she said. “Tell them to stop, don’t laugh, don’t be afraid to step outside your social circle.”