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When he opened the door, the sheriff was pulled aside and Gunn was dragged out of the car. Witnesses later said the mob leader told the sheriff, "Either you move out of the way or die with this man, either way he's going to die today. After an hour and a half, Gunn and the crowd reached at the Garrett schoolhouse. Gunn's ears and nose were bleeding from being beaten on the way. The schoolhouse was emptied and all furniture placed on the lawn.
The mob was estimated to have grown to between 2, and 4, Gunn was taken inside the schoolhouse, where he is reported to have confessed his guilt again, claiming he had an accomplice named "Shike" Smith. Gunn was moved to the roof and tied to a ridge pole. Gunn and the building were then doused with gasoline. The mob leader, identified only as the "man in a red coat", threw a lighted piece of paper into the building.
Gunn screamed but once and appeared lifeless in 11 minutes. The building's roof collapsed within 16 minutes. Burnt fragments of the schoolhouse were taken by the crowd as souvenirs. No charges were ever filed in the lynching. Attempts to identify the "man in the red coat" have been answered by the claim he was an outsider. However, newspapers said all the others were local. Gunn's lynching was universally condemned by newspapers across the United States. After the brutal incident, Maryville residents heard rumors that African Americans from Kansas City were coming to attack the city in retaliation.
Townsmen reportedly set up machine gun nests on Main Street. The Gunn family's home was also burned. The census showed 90 African Americans living in Maryville, with 35 enrolled in the town's school. By , the number of African Americans had dropped to six, and eventually almost all left the town in fear. Franklin Roosevelt campaigned in , saying he was going to take steps to stop all lynchings. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. They had to make a space for the kids to grieve without letting wreath-and-teddy-bear memorials take over the campus.
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Tarn Wilson recalls them as beautiful and haunting but also morbid, and exactly the kind of prop that a depressed teenager might imagine as a backdrop to his own future tragedy. Eventually some students decided to hold a memorial service off campus, at a local elementary school. One of the people who planned it was Isabelle Blanchard, the junior-class president that year—and one of J. Implicit in her weary statement of fact was the underlying question: Why? In the nearly five years since the last cluster, many Palo Alto parents had allowed themselves to drift into a hazy and self-protective way of thinking: The kids who killed themselves must have been social outcasts or victims of clear mental illness; at the very least they must have been obviously struggling.
There is no safe space. My kid could be next. In it, Cameron explained that his death had nothing to do with school, friends, or family. The only anomaly anyone could identify was that Cameron never seemed to sleep. Alex Gil told me that if you were up at 3 a. And throughout the week, he was typically on Twitter or Snapchat late at night.
When Alex once asked why he was always up at odd hours, Cameron told him he was doing homework. That was standard around town, to humble-brag about staying up all night to study.
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It came easy to him. One suicide cluster could be anomalous.
In the United States, there are about five youth clusters a year. But now Palo Alto was well into its second. Seventy-four percent of Gunn students have at least one parent with a graduate degree. Last year, Gunn was ranked by U. Every year, about 20 of its seniors get into Stanford, which is just two miles away, and a quarter are offered spots at University of California schools, which are notoriously competitive these days.
Gunn, and to a lesser extent Palo Alto High School, is legendary all over the world. Chinese patriarchs buy homes in the community and send their families, so their kids can go to school there.
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Parents sacrifice vacations and plan their budgets carefully so they can afford a house in the district. The college friends I stayed with while reporting this story—both full-time physicians—got priced out of their rental during the school year and had to move out of the district, to nearby San Mateo.
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Today Gunn is like countless other high-achieving high schools in countless other affluent communities—New York; Washington, D. It is an extreme distillation of what parents in the meritocratic elite expect from a school. The opportunities are limitless and the competition is tough and the pleasant chatter among the parents concerns chances for enrichment.
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The school always sends a handful of students to the math and biology Olympiads, and typically some of them place in the top 10 percent. A recent ted x event was the largest ever held at any American high school. Julie Lythcott-Haims, a parent of two and a former freshman dean at Stanford, summarized the prevailing sentiment of those autumn e-mails as: What are we doing to our kids? Palo Alto Online , a community news site, tried to maintain decorum in the comment sections, but the anguish and guilt spilled over.
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Had parents really given their kids the idea that they had to perform? She wanted to know whether misbehavior correlated more with poverty or with a stage of adolescence. She needed a second school to use as a comparison. An undergraduate student she worked with had connections at a school in a Connecticut suburb that was more upscale, and Luthar got permission to distribute her surveys there.
The results were not what she expected. In the inner-city school, 86 percent of students received free or reduced-price lunches; in the suburban school, 1 percent did. Yet in the richer school, the proportion of kids who smoked, drank, or used hard drugs was significantly higher —as was the rate of serious anxiety and depression. As it happened, she was about to fly to Palo Alto. Earlier that month a fifth kid had killed himself, Byron Zhu, a year-old sophomore at Palo Alto High.
He had walked in front of an early-morning northbound train. Luthar had been invited to give a presentation on affluent youth as a largely unrecognized at-risk group.
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But she has amassed the most thorough data set we have on that group, from schools scattered across the country. At each extreme—poor and rich—kids are showing unusually high rates of dysfunction. On the surface, the rich kids seem to be thriving. They have cars, nice clothes, good grades, easy access to health care, and, on paper, excellent prospects.