Berkeley High student dies downtown

In a letter to the school community, Principal Juan Raygoza said he was “heartbroken.” All-day counseling will be available to students.


A Berkeley High student has died after falling from a downtown parking garage Monday during lunchtime.

Berkeley High Principal Juan Raygoza notified families of the teenager’s death in an email Monday evening, adding that counseling will be available at the high school in the coming days.

“I am heartbroken to inform you of the death of a Berkeley High School student in an incident that took place only a block away from Berkeley High School during the busy lunch period today,” Raygoza wrote.

“Our hearts go out to this family and to everyone in the Berkeley High School community who may be impacted by this loss.”

Many students witnessed the incident, which occurred around 12:30 p.m., according to Superintendent Brent Stephens. The student was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead this afternoon, he said.

“When we lose one of our own students, it’s an impact that we all feel very deeply. We’re reminded of how important every single student is who attends every Berkeley school,” Stephens said, calling the loss of the student “a nightmare.”

Neither the school district nor Berkeley Police has released the student’s name.

BPD said they were conducting a death investigation and that, as of now, there did not “appear to be any signs of foul play.”

The letter encouraged parents, caregivers, and students to talk about the incident and shared mental health resources at Berkeley High and other crisis resources.

Counselors will be available all day at Berkeley High to support students at the BHS Health Center, in the Main Office (D Building), and at H104, directly across from the Health Center. Counselors from the district’s middle and elementary schools and the city of Berkeley will also be available as needed.

Other crisis resources in the email included:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7): 1-800-273-8255
  • Alameda County Crisis Text Line (4-11 p.m./7 days/week): text SAFE to 20121
  • Berkeley Mental Health Mobile Crisis (11:30 a.m-10 p.m.; Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday): 510-981-5254

Read the full email from Berkeley High Principal Juan Raygoza:

April 18, 2022

Dear BHS Community,

I am heartbroken to inform you of the death of a Berkeley High School student in an incident that took place only a block away from Berkeley High School during the busy lunch period today. We know some BHS students witnessed this incident which occurred outside of the parking garage at Milvia and Center St.

Parents and caregivers: Please check in with your student tonight and inquire about their understanding of this incident and their own well being.

Students: Please talk to your parents and caregivers tonight, especially if you are struggling to understand this incident or if you were a witness. Please know that all of us at BHS care about you and are here to support you.

Out of respect for this young person’s family, we are not releasing additional information at this time. Our hearts go out to this family and to everyone in the Berkeley High School community who may be impacted by this loss.

Counseling Resources
The Berkeley High School counseling staff and administration are here to help students as they process this tragic loss over the ensuing days. Counselors will be available to all students throughout the day, beginning tomorrow, and BHS administrators plan to visit individual classes where students may be more directly impacted.

All-day counseling will be available at the BHS Health Center and in the Main Office (D Building). Intervention Counselors will be available all day tomorrow at H104, directly across from the Health Center.

The District is bringing in additional counselors from our middle school and from Bay Area Counseling Resources to ensure that all students seeking support can receive it. The City of Berkeley has also extended an offer to provide resources in support of students.

Our students have faced many challenges this year and throughout the pandemic. I want to remind you of these resources available to any student seeking support:

Health Center
Room H105, 510-644-6965

Mental Health Services
Individual short-term counseling, crisis assessment, emotional support and stress management, consultation for parents and school staff, and referrals for ongoing mental health services and community resources. Anyone can submit a mental health referral to the Health Center via BHS Counseling Referral Form at www.jotform.com

Other Important Crisis Resources
Alameda County Crisis Support Services Hotline (24/7): 1-800-309-2131
Alameda County Crisis Text Line (4-11 PM/7 days/week): text SAFE to 20121
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7): 1-800-273-8255
Trevor Project Lifeline for LGBTQ youth (24/7): 1-866-488-7386
Berkeley Mental Health Mobile Crisis (11:30 AM-10 PM; Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sun): 510-981-5254
Bay Area Women Against Rape: 510-345-1056 • bawar.org/get-help-for-yourself
Love Is Respect, text LOVEIS to 22522 • Or call 1-866-331-9474

Photo: Nancy Rubin

Ally Markovich covers education for Berkeleyside. Email: ally@berkeleyside.org. Twitter: allymarkovich.