News


Civil-rights officials present harassment guidelines

Meeting at Ohlone prompted by recent investigations of discrimination, bullying cases

More than 100 people showed up Thursday night to a parent-education event in which representatives from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights described how and when the office approaches issues of discriminatory harassment in schools.

The event at Ohlone Elementary school attracted a mix of parents, members of local student advocacy groups and concerned community members. Palo Alto Unified School District Superintendent Kevin Skelly and trustee Camille Townsend attended but were not part of the program.

The Office for Civil Rights found in December that Palo Alto's school district had violated a disabled student's civil rights in its handling of a bullying case. The district has since entered into a "resolution agreement" with the agency to correct the problem. The office is currently investigating at least three other cases of alleged discrimination in the district.

The representatives stated at the beginning of their presentation that they were unable to respond directly to individual circumstances and cases. They focused instead on presenting a general overview of discriminatory harassment, appropriate methods for schools to remedy situations in which it occurs and the circumstances associated with their office's involvement.

One of the representatives, Gemini McCasland, an attorney with the office's San Francisco office, said that the office has a customer service line that can assist with more specific questions regarding harassment, anonymously if need be.

McCasland said that while schools may have their own policies to address bullying, the federal government doesn't have specific laws that confront it. But many of its characteristics often overlap with those of discriminatory harassment, which the federal government does have laws to protect against.

In order for behavior to be considered discriminatory harassment, she said, it must be "severe, pervasive or persistent" and it must create a hostile environment that denies or limits the target of the harassment from benefiting from the school's program.

It must also be based on a student's sex, race, disability, color, national origin and in some cases, religion.

Discriminatory harassment, she said, is different from bullying in that it need not be repeated and that it can be done without the intent to harm its target.

Harassing conduct can take many forms, including verbal acts and name-calling, use of cell phone or internet, and other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful or humiliating. It may be called bullying, hazing or teasing, but regardless of the label, the conduct itself must be assessed by the school for civil rights implications in addition to any other local or state policies or laws that may also apply.

In analyzing the conduct and its effects to determine whether a "hostile environment" has been created that interferes with or limits a student's education, the school must look at the totality of the circumstances, including both objective and subjective factors, McCasland said.

According to McCasland, these factors can include: location, nature, frequency, duration and scope of the conduct; whether the conduct is daily, sporadic or widespread; the number of students involved; other incidents occurring and how those were responded to by the school; the age of the students involved; and whether the students affected have suffered emotionally, academically or physically.

Some of the possible effects on students from discriminatory harassment can include anxiety, insomnia, fear of going to school, a drop in grades, reluctance to participate in certain school activities, and depression.

In most cases, McCasland said, "the harassment must consist of more than a casual or isolated incident to establish that a hostile environment occurred."

Generally, McCasland said, the more severe the behavior, the less repeated it needs to be to be considered actionable discriminatory harassment.

Further, more specific examples can be found at the office's online reading room.

Once a school becomes aware that discriminatory harassment may be occurring, McCasland said the school must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate the facts. The specific steps required will depend on the facts, but in all cases, the inquiry should be prompt, thorough and impartial. If the school finds that discriminatory harassment has occurred it must take action reasonably calculated to end the harassment, eliminate any hostile environment and its effects, and prevent the harassment from recurring.

If the Office of Civil Rights becomes involved, it will examine the reasonableness, timeliness and effectiveness of the steps the school took to combat the harassment, McCasland said.

She said it was important that the school's countermeasures go beyond simple discipline for the offending party. Further action might include providing additional opportunities and services like academic support and counseling to the target, implementing harassment monitoring programs and awareness training, and adopting and reporting new policies so that the harassment does not occur again.

After the presentation concluded, McCasland and her colleague Jim Wood answered questions from the audience, most of which were submitted anonymously by cards and generally served to clarify points from the dense material presented during the presentation.

In response to an audience question about whether a parent should first try to resolve an issue of discriminatory harassment with the district, or instead go directly to the Office for Civil Rights, San Francisco regional office "team leader" James Wood responded that there is no requirement to first take up an issue of discriminatory harassment with the school.

He advised parents to "use your best judgment" about whether there's enough potential trust, ability or capacity to try to resolve the issue locally. At any point, the complainant is free to seek advice and redress with the Office for Civil Rights, and file a complaint using the complaint form on the office's website. However, in cases where there is a formal district proceeding already underway, the Office for Civil Rights will wait until that proceeding is completed before acting upon a complaint; in such cases, the parents must file with the Office for Civil Rights within 60 days if the parent is not satisfied with the outcome of the district proceeding.

The event was co-sponsored by a number of student advocacy groups, including We Can Do Better Palo Alto, a group co-founded by 2012 school board candidate Ken Dauber, Parent Advocates for Student Success, the Community Advisory Council for Special Education and the Student Equity Action Network.

The school district was initially a co-sponsor, but withdrew its support out of fears the event would be used to encourage additional civil rights complaints against the district, according to Skelly.

Comments

Posted by a parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 17, 2013 at 3:24 am

How the district treats families and children is what encourages civil rights complaints, Mr. Skelly. Do you not know that we parents talk with each other? That we use the internet? This is not about you and never was.

That people haven't filed more complaints has more to do with parents' forbearance than anything else. People turn outside as a last resort.

Show that your apologies and words are not just a gimmick to make the spotlight go away. You will fend of complaints by just doing your job. Recognize, too, that other people in the administration haven't gotten the message and maybe won't ever, and it reflects on you.


Posted by correction, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 17, 2013 at 6:11 am

There were 130 people not 100.


Posted by all the news that's fit to transcribe, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 17, 2013 at 8:15 am

The Weekly continues its tradition of just typing up reports of things that happen in public without interviewing all the available live human beings who are present. In doing so, the story is missed.

The US Office for Civil Rights presented a "know your rights" slideshow to a packed, standing room only crowd last night at Ohlone School. As reported above, the lawyers informed the crowded room about the law for more than an hour. There was then a lengthy Q/A session moderated by Dauber. The questions were taken from audience cards, of which there were approximately 60. Nearly all of the questions focused on how to file a claim. Many were from parents who were seeking information about filing deadlines, how to file, how to ask questions about suspected discrimination anonymously, and what to do when the district refuses to answer complaints. Many people hung back after the presentation to ask questions of the lawyers privately.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Over the past 4 years in the United States, there have been 1500 complaints of disability based bullying. Only 15 of those resulted in findings of noncompliance against a school district, or approximately 1%. All others were resolved prior to a finding of noncompliance through being dismissed or through being resolved voluntarily prior to a finding. PAUSD is one of only a handful of districts that has failed to learn the law and follow it.

Now we have an entirely predictable raft of complaints that are the result of parents learning their rights and wanting to have some relief from district rulebreaking.

PAUSD it is time to come to Jesus on following the law. If your current team cannot get you there, then you need to change the lineup.


Posted by roll call, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 17, 2013 at 8:16 am

There were 93 people, not 130


Posted by Sorcerer, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 17, 2013 at 8:25 am

Any chance that this meeting will be broadcast or streamed?? I had planned to attend, but was stricken suddenly by a neurological illness, and just got out of hospital. No way could I go, but I really want to see and hear every detail!


Posted by info, a resident of Esther Clark Park
on May 17, 2013 at 8:26 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by all the news that's fit to transcribe, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 17, 2013 at 8:30 am

Sorry unfortunately no, the organizers announced that they requested the ability to video the presentation and post to the internet, but OCR would not allow for the meeting to be videotaped or recorded. Many people were trying to record it (see above) but they were politely asked not to due to the request of OCR. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] If you would like to ask questions, the contact information for the OCR attorneys who gave the presentation is:

James Wood, Team Lead, james.m.wood@ocr.gov
Gemini McCasland, Civil Rights Attorney, Gemini.McCasland@ed.gov


Posted by appreciative, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 17, 2013 at 8:42 am

The account from "all the news that's fit to transcribe" just shows the variety of perspectives that not only attended, but in the district.

The presentation was absolutely about knowing one's rights, and understanding when things cross the line and how to respond to them appropriately. The law was discussed and made understandable for those of us who aren't lawyers. It also seemed clear that the OCR doesn't jump in to investigate any concern of bullying or discrimination.

Cards collected from the audience by volunteers, screened by one of the OCR attorneys presenting, and then Mr. Dauber read those cards aloud to be answered. Claiming that "Nearly all of the questions focused on how to file a claim" is simply false. There were questions about how bullying is different from being harassed, what does a hostile environment mean, and other questions selected to clarify the presentation. A few people can to the microphone to ask questions.

Timelines to get help were discussed and asked a few times, because they are confusing. I spoke to no other parents who were seeking information how to file, and yes, the public is concerned about asking questions about suspected discrimination anonymously (in fear of retaliation). Maybe 10 people hung back after the presentation to ask questions of the lawyers privately. The rest of folks seemed to find community and mostly district personnel and those sponsoring the event stayed to chat and/or clean after the event.

I think this article is an accurate, unbiased reflection of the event.

Skelley and Townsend were there, and were oddly quite friendly and smiley with the crowd, as though they were the ones to make the event happen.

There was clear communication not to take pictures or recordings, and yet many people did.

Overall, it was informative and helpful. The biggest collective expression from the audience was gasping and disgust when an OCR attorney read about previous findings and what is appropriate vs inappropriate responses. That response was in a case where a child harassed another child and said claimed he wouldn't get in trouble because he was the child of a school board official.

Any complaints that come out of that meeting are due to the district and school's lack of response to their child's needs.


Posted by Question, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 17, 2013 at 8:44 am

Why wouldn't the OCP hand out slides or allow videotaping the presentation? This was a public event dealing with information gathered or produced with taxpayer money in a publicly owned building.



Posted by jls mom of 2, a resident of JLS Middle School
on May 17, 2013 at 8:58 am

jls mom of 2 is a registered user.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

I thought a lot of the cards were about how to file. I also know several people who came looking for information about how to file. Plus the lawyer said he had a lot of cards he didn't even answer because they were about specific people alleging discrimination or harassment of their own child and looking for help. He urged them to call the customer service line. I think it's fair to say that a lot of people were there looking for help, which is not too surprising given what the event was about.


Posted by spectator at large, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm

spectator at large is a registered user.

I attended this well-organized and well attended event last night. I made a head count as I find that the press repeatedly reports numbers that aren't quite accurate. I counted 128 people. Organizers had to get extra chairs above and beyond the chairs that Ohlone had set up for the sponsoring groups. It was truly gratifying to see so many attendees.

Many people I know definitely came because they have concerns about their child and want to know whether they have a claim. I saw the former principal of Ohlone School (Susan Charles) at the meeting as well as many of my friends and neighbors who had expressed a real desire to get the facts. I believe (based on conversations before and after the presentation) that many of the parents in attendance were there because their child had experienced bullying or harassment and they wanted to know whether they have a claim. OCR encouraged anyone with such questions to contact their 'Customer Service' at their office. It was stressed by the OCR official that victims and their advocates can make a completely anonymous inquiry. I believe that anonymity is essential in order for the complainant to feel safe in making their initial inquiry. I was rather shocked to see Supt. Dr. Kevin Skelly at this meeting. As stated in this article, ' The school district was initially a co-sponsor, but withdrew its support out of fears the event would be used to encourage additional civil rights complaints against the district, according to Skelly.' This is a rather telling statement.

Speaking of fears, I wonder how many people who may have considered standing up and asking a question (this meeting was not recorded) thought better of it when they saw Dr. Skelly and a Board member in attendance. Fear of retaliation is real.

I believe that Ken Dauber is a true community leader and his professional conduct and caring about the community can be contrasted with Board Member Camille Townsend who chatted throughout the event. Not only did she chat during the presentation; but, when told not to record the event (I observed event organizers telling her that no individual (that would include School Board members!) would be allowed to record any part of the presentation (per OCR officials), Ms. Townsend continued to take photos of the slides (which are available online so she didn't even have to use her camera at any time!). She persisted with her photo documentation even though the event organizers asked her to stop. Parents for the sponsoring groups were afraid that Ms. Townsend's behavior would upset our guests from OCR but were unable to get her to stop. It would appear that Camille thinks it is OK to disregard polite requests from her fellow parents and community members. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

The organizers did a wonderful job, particularly Ken Dauber who not conceived of the event and brought people together to do it as a community but also paid for the child care out of his own pocket in order to make sure low income families could attend. We are lucky to have a man with such desires to help ALL students and families in our community. I really wish that he had been elected. Perhaps some of the problems the district is experiencing right now could have been avoided or at least dealt with differently. In any event, I support Mr. Dauber in all his efforts to have a fair and impartial investigation of events surrounding district missteps. Maybe now the public will realize that Ken's mission is not to destroy the district but to help heal it and improve the lives of all of our students. Thank you Ken!

I was very disgusted with the way this community treated Ken during the election. I am so glad that I got to meet Ken and talk with him briefly about his vision for a better social/emotional landscape for our precious students particularly those at Gunn who are still suffering mightily.

Thanks to all of the parents who attended this meeting. I learned so much and will take the notes I made back to my friends and neighbors in the community. Thanks We Can Do Better Palo Alto and all of the other groups (SEAN, PASS and CAC) that came on board to support this important work! I hope this is the first of many parent education presentations that we parents can avail ourselves of.


Posted by spectator at large, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 17, 2013 at 3:13 pm

spectator at large is a registered user.

I would like to respond to a few of the comments here:

@appreciative: "as though they were the ones to make the event happen" is not so far off base; however, in this case, it is Dr. Skelly who is the one who made the event happen through his failure to comply with the OCR letter of finding and failure to report it to the Board. We probably wouldn't be having a meeting to discuss these issues had he followed the proper path to resolution and had he been forthcoming with the Board and the public. I think it was on Camille Townsend's watch that the OCR violation info came out and if she knew then perhaps she is also one that made the event happen after all.

@roll call: WRONG WRONG AND MORE WRONG! It was 128. I counted them myself. The school had set up100 chairs. Every chair was filled and the public who arrived later had to set up chairs themselves. Also, the parent volunteers from the various sponsor groups were standing and not even occupying a chair. I don't know where you got your computational skills but let's post an honest census on this event please.

@all the news...." "Come to Jesus on following the law"...I am not Christian; however, I believe that Jesus was a good man who was persecuted for telling the truth and was very unpopular for calling a spade a spade (no pun intended!). This reminds me of a certain Mr. Dauber who has been experiencing the same kind of treatment for speaking the truth. The truth often hurts; however, the truth will set you free!

@Parent: Yes! This has never been about Skelly. This is about children who are hurting. Please pay attention Dr. Skelly! I think that Parent is right and that parents have been practicing more forbearance than anyone should have to. I have experienced you exhibiting what appeared to be a complete insensitivity to the needs of our parents and students who you are supposed to be serving. When it was finally reported in the press that our district was in violation of federal law and we learned that the reason you told nobody about it (did you tell Charles your compliance officer?) was because you were "too embarrassed" it was stranger than fiction. It is so over the top for anyone to expect that they will still have a job if they behave like this. It defies imagination.

And finally:

@Question: OCR sets their own rules and for the public to complain that they are owned videotaping privileges for the reasons you stated is just WRONG! OCR has every right to have their own set of rules regardless of your [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] claims that you should be entitled to record things. By the way, the slides are available online I believe if you really want to have a set.


Posted by roll call, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm

roll call is a registered user.

@spectator at large
You couldn't be more WRONG, there were only 93. They certainly didn't bring in 30 more chairs as your numbers would claim.
I do see that the Weekly has now updated their report to "more than 100", which wasn't the case this morning. I'd be happy to take their number, if they actually took a headcount and didn't just update it after asking the organizers for a number.
Maybe it should be 91 since you all seem determined to exclude Kevin and Camille from the proceedings. You would probably have castigated them for not coming as well. Standard "damned if they do" approach to spin.


Posted by jerry99, a resident of Barron Park
on May 17, 2013 at 3:43 pm

jerry99 is a registered user.

A visit by U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights - how wonderful. The US Office for Civil Rights presented a "know your rights" slideshow to a packed, standing room only crowd last night at Ohlone School. As reported above, the lawyers informed the crowded room about the law for more than an hour.
What a typical waste of taxpayer money, the group should be disbanded. Harassment is a school issue, not a US Civil Rights issue and we continue to have these out of date, out of touch derelict departments go peddle their wares to naive parent and school groups.
School have teachers and principals to enforce the law.
Since the race based civil rights issues went away mnay US government departments and employees are still trying to peddle their fish, at taxpayers expense. What nonsense.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on May 18, 2013 at 12:30 am

village fool is a registered user.

@editor - would you kindly consider to add/place this thread under the schools &ids category?


Posted by Spectator at Large, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 18, 2013 at 9:56 am

Spectator at Large is a registered user.

Dear Weekly Editor: I would like to second the Village Fool's request to move this thread to the "Schools and Kids" category. I am anxious to see what others in the community (particularly the parents in the audience of current students in our district) are thinking. I am sure that the organizers would like some constructive criticism and/or awesome praise (obviously I am in the praise category but there is always room for improvement). Hearing from attendees and community members would enable the sponsoring groups to present many more high quality parent education evenings. Good work WCDBPA, PASS, CAC, SEAN and Ken Dauber in particular for being the visionary and caring about ALL KIDS in our district.


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on May 18, 2013 at 10:36 am

village fool is a registered user.

@editor - Thank you for moving the thread.
@Spectator at Large - I am sorry, I would not hold my breath waiting for community input, here. This thread was made available only for those who log in - past have proved that stopped flood of comments especially in the schools & kids category. Fear of retaliation was mentioned many times, unfortunately. Seems that this is yet another manifestation of this fear. As to the presentation- you nailed it. I think that empathy filled the room. Anyone bullied does not take empathy for granted. The resources made available at the entrance - books and other - were just another indication as to the thought put into organizing this event.
Thank you to all who made this event possible!


Posted by Yes, it was intimidating, a resident of Barron Park
on May 18, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Yes, some parents were afraid or intimidated when they walked in and the very first thing they see siting int he back was a tall guy who looked like Skelly. They did ask if he was the one, when they knew for sure, they did not wan to pass to the front and find a seat because they did not wanted him to see them there. They were afraid he would recognize whose parents of whose children they were. For these five different parents, it would had been better if he was not there.


Posted by Ken Dauber, a resident of Barron Park
on May 18, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Ken Dauber is a registered user.

Thank you to everyone who attended the meeting, and to the cosponsors who joined We Can Do Better Palo Alto to put on the event: the CAC serving parents of children in special education, PASS supporting achievement for all kids, and the Student Equity Action Network from Paly.
I was personally gratified to see a standing-room-only crowd of parents and other community members who came to learn about this topic. My belief and our belief is that full transparency and knowledge are key to making progress on these issues. Attendees listened attentively to the presentations for over an hour, and then asked many clarifying questions. A substantial number of people had questions that were too detailed or individual to be handled in a large group. I hope those people are able to get their questions answered through the materials referred to in the presentation or by contacting the OCR help line that was also mentioned
I also want to thank the Weekly for publicizing this event and for covering it, and PAUSD and the administrative and janitorial staff at Ohlone for helping us with the logistics for the meeting.
If anyone is interested in pointers to the information referred to in the meeting, or other relevant information, feel free to email me at kenneth.dauber@gmail.com or to contact any of the other cosponsors. Any of us will of course hold such contacts in confidence.


Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on May 18, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I so not have a child in school so usually just skim these issues.

I was struck by Ken Daubers's post above thanking the administrative and janitorial staff. Very thoughtful, as these individuals are not always acknowledged, so thank you.


Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on May 18, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Whoops, that should read "do" not have a child in school.


Posted by Fred, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 18, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Mr. Dauber, thank you for your event. I attended and learned a lot. In fact, I realized during the talk by the lawyer that some of the things she was talking about in terms of teacher harassment of students have happened to my daughter. I am trying to work with the principal around this issue and it is helpful to me to know my daughter's rights. I wish I had known it sooner, honestly.
If you decide to do another such event, I would be very interested in a similar presentation on the topic of IEPs (specifically how to get teachers to follow the IEP).
Thanks again.


Posted by roll call, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 18, 2013 at 10:54 pm

@SaL, Found another datapoint, last Friday's Post. It also stated 100. Much closer to my count than yours. Time to back down?
It also had an informative tidbit in the last paragraph. Ken clearly stating that the whole purpose of the event was to tell people how to file OCR complaints. That's it. Puts a completely different perspective on why Kevin chose to withdraw support.


Posted by Ken Dauber, a resident of Barron Park
on May 18, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Ken Dauber is a registered user.

As I mentioned above, the event was cosponsored by We Can Do Better Palo Alto, the Community Advisory Committee for special education, Parent Advocates for Student Success, and the Student Equity Action Network. Our purpose was to inform parents and other community members about the civil rights law relevant to bullying and harassment at school, and to inform parents about their rights including how to file a complaint. All of these items appeared on the agenda and were advertised in the Weekly. Here is a link to the advertisement: Web Link.
The Post reported accurately that OCR was asked to make the presentation "in order to answer parent questions on how to file a complaint and what the law is in the wake of recent OCR investigations in Palo Alto." I didn't say, as you claim, that "the whole purpose of the event was to tell people how to file OCR complaints." That's entirely false as I'm sure you know. I believe that full knowledge and transparency is the only way to make progress on these issues, as I said above. There should be no need for anyone to fear public education about how to exercise one's legal rights.


Posted by roll call, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 19, 2013 at 8:08 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by spectator at large, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 19, 2013 at 8:09 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Alphonso, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on May 19, 2013 at 8:39 am

Alphonso is a registered user.

The quality of education should be the number one priority. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by PalyDad, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 19, 2013 at 11:48 am

PalyDad is a registered user.

I don't think it matters personally whether there were 100 or 128 people there. That's a lot of people who are concerned enough about civil rights violations in the district that they wanted to know what is going on. Even if only 100 were there, and even if only half of them were there to find out how to file a complant, that's like 50 more complaints. So what is the point?

The organizers say they counted and that there were 128 people including more than a dozen who I saw running around putting out coffee and cookies and fruit, doing child care, taking cards, running the AV, doing announcements, setting up literature, and more. If there were 100 chairs and a dozen people who were serving others, as well as a large group standing in back because they didn't want Dr. Skelly to see them so they didn't want to walk past him (as stated in this thread by "Yes it was intimidating") then the 128 number sounds about right to me but what if it was 100.

The press was there and they agree that there was more than 100 too. But what if it was "only" 100. What is your point?

Is "roll call" arguing that 100 is a small number of people? Is she arguing that 100 people showing up on a weeknight to meet with the federal government about bullying, who braved being identified by Skelly and Townsend, who took business cards and complaint forms, who have posted to this thread saying that they wish they had known sooner what their rights are -- is "roll call" claiming that is great? Is it wonderful? Will it be in the next PTAC newsletter under the heading "more great news about our wonderful schools"? Please tell us what the heck your point is.


Posted by Alphonso, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on May 19, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Alphonso is a registered user.

Palo Alto Online obviously is not interested in transparency - if you people do not agree the PA Online agenda then their comments are censored. Where is the notion of Freedom of Speech?


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on May 19, 2013 at 12:06 pm

village fool is a registered user.

Thank you PalyDad for articulating, so nicely the questions I had in mind! It just felt as some mockery that was beyond me grasp. Same type of mockery that was going on in a parallel thread.
@Roll Call - I second PalyDad. I am looking forward to your logging logging in, educating me. I will deeply appreciate if you could use simple words, sentences - hopefully, I'll be able to understand. Thank you.


Posted by spectator at large, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm

spectator at large is a registered user.

@Paly Dad:

I had said many of the same things that you said in a previously pulled comment in response to Ms. or Mr. Roll Call. I am glad that you have a very nice way of articulating the same things I am thinking.

@Roll Call: Yes Yes Yes (and more Yes!):
Please educate us as I have no clue what is going on. I agree with Village Fool that it would best be done in language that I have the ability to understand. I am so grateful that you are out there correcting everything that is misreported. I don't know what we would do without you!


Posted by homeless , a resident of Community Center
on May 19, 2013 at 6:31 pm

homeless is a registered user.

im confused. is this conversation about how many people attended the meeting or discriminatory harassment vs. bullying? What is/are the issue(s).?
1. Attendance
2. Discriminatory Harrasment
3. Bullying

These are all different issues. Based on the editorial the message is: we are not only dealing with bullying but also discriminatory harassment . I truly believe children only know / are learning to bully. Concept of discriminatory Harrasment has to do with parents/adults. I also think the issue #1 appears as a topic because of maybe there is/are issues of avoidance to approach the real message in the article posted here, I maybe reading in between the lines.


Posted by homeless , a resident of Community Center
on May 19, 2013 at 7:11 pm

homeless is a registered user.

I would also like to add, if I may; to label children as disabled , different and who not fit in 'normal' classroom is wrong. Not only wrong it's ; being uneducated in today's world. Child is ' a diamond in the rough' .. what right does the school district of Palo Alto to label a child? This ' diamond in the rough' yes.. he/she may not be able to function in so called ' normal class room' yet he/ she may have special talent that is beyond of understanding of the teacher, school district , principal. To prevent future homelessness and suffering of a human being; these children who are now labeled and trying to build a future for themselves are on mercy of their very own parent(s) vs. the school. We must never give up on a child, because they are the future. And I bet all beans in my bag, if we as adults find out the talent the particular child empowers, and support the growth of this child; we will have much better world and less homeless.


Posted by roll call, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 19, 2013 at 9:32 pm

roll call is a registered user.

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
on May 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm

village fool is a registered user.

@editor - while I totally agree that this is your board- you pay the bills and have the say, I must admit that I do not understand. The recent "Roll Call" discussion may have been off topic - that would not be first time of thread going off topic. While I, obviously, did not agree or even understand "Roll Call" agenda(?), I could not see anything in his/hers recent post that called(?) for it's removal. As far as I recall, PalyDad responded - there is no trace anymore.
All this goes back to questions raised several times by many. Maybe it is old school of free press idea/ideals that have me (and possibly others) confused?


Posted by spectator at large, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on May 19, 2013 at 11:17 pm

spectator at large is a registered user.

@homeless: I couldn't agree with you more. Children learn what they live and unfortunately too many of our parents are modeling values very much lacking in compassion for others who may not have all the characteristics one is expected (by some) in Palo Alto to benefit by growing up in "perfect Palo Alto". I wish that some of the people who are living in this bubble of ignorance could experience what it is like to not have been born into a perfect body, mind and economically over endowed family. I get really irked when I see all the parents who write into these forum comments with such insensitive remarks as "if you can't afford ________(fill in the blank) then you can just move out." Or, if you are having problems with our perfect PAUSD schools, just enroll your child in a private shcool (like everybody can afford to tuitionally send their child to college before it's time for the child to enroll in college. If I were the person making these statements I would feel shame and embarrassment to reveal these attitudes. Apparently, many PA parents think that entitlement is a "family value". Sad........... Dear Editor: Please don't delete this because I think many people need to hear it and think about their lack of compassion.

@roll call: I think you have acquired one too many unexcused absenses. Please try to limit your tardiness as well. It seems as if you are trying to defend the indefensible. Please use language that we can understand as we requested. It is unbecoming to


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