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Ex-Palo Alto Teacher Seeks Less Homework To Lower Student Stress, Prevent Suicides

PALO ALTO (KCBS) – Since 2009, ten students in Palo Alto have taken their own lives. A coalition of different groups in Palo Alto is proposing some dramatic changes to reduce student stress levels.

Nine of the student suicides occurred at Gunn High School, where Marc Vincenti spent 15 years teaching English. His coalition is proposing six changes to reduce student stress, including less homework.

"Most people would agree that students should not get 3, 4, 5 hours of homework that they're getting each night," Vincenti told KCBS. "I think most people would say two hours of homework, for a high schooler two-and-a-half hours is what would be healthy."

Dr. Stuart Slavin, a professor of pediatrics at the St. Louis University School of Medicine, is among those supporting the campaign. Slavin said too much pressure is being put on high school students today.

"I think the most important thing we can do is back off on homework and get students more time to just frankly be kids," Slavin said.

There was no immediate response from the school district.

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