Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 15, 2010

'Egg wars' come to Palo Alto school board

Attorney demands suspensions be expunged for district to avoid lawsuit

by Chris Kenrick

The controversial "egg wars" of last October came back to bite the Palo Alto Board of Education Tuesday when a lawyer asked board members to expunge the suspensions of students associated with the incident or face a lawsuit.

In a statement delivered during the "open forum" portion of the school board meeting, attorney William D. Ross said the suspensions are harming the ability of students to apply for athletic scholarships because of NCAA rules requiring that students disclose whether they have been a subject of school discipline.

Ross asked board members to review and expunge the suspensions as soon as possible to "avoid liability" for interfering with students' ability to obtain scholarships.

The Oct. 27 "egg war" took place between members of Palo Alto High School's junior and senior classes on the Gunn High School campus, damaging the school's new track, scoreboards and pool deck and requiring professional cleanup at a cost of $3,200.

Palo Alto High School Principal Jacquie McEvoy initially issued five-day suspensions to students known to have participated, quickly reducing them to one-day suspensions after she said she learned the egg fight had not been as serious as she'd first believed. Later, McEvoy said she would expunge the suspensions entirely if students remained on good behavior for the rest of the year.

Frustrated by what they viewed as McEvoy's punitive discipline style, some parents have demanded a probe of the school's investigative procedures in the incident.

The "egg war" between juniors and seniors is an unauthorized tradition of Paly's Spirit Week, normally taking place in a Stanford eucalyptus grove. This time, the students spontaneously moved to Gunn after Stanford police scared them away. Paly student representatives later apologized to Gunn for the incident.

Comments

Posted by Jack, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jan 13, 2010 at 11:12 am

The plot thickens! Will the Principal hold fast to her principle?


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 13, 2010 at 11:39 am

or will she end up with egg on her face?


Posted by anon, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 13, 2010 at 11:56 am

I would like to thank Mr. Ross for bringing this up on behalf of all taxpayers in Palo Alto!
The over reaction of the Principal is the direct cause of the problem in this case. She turned a harmless letting-off-of-steam -ritual into a police sting that snow balled into a few HONEST students taking the blame, resulting suspensions that could be the deciding factor in cases of college acceptance and/or scholarships.

$3,200.00 dollars to hose egg off a track....seriously?







Posted by Paly 08 grad, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 13, 2010 at 12:48 pm

"after she said she learned the egg fight had not been as serious as she'd first believed. Later, McEvoy said she would expunge the suspensions entirely if students remained on good behavior for the rest of the year."

Haha more like, after Skelly informed her that this literally what an insane person does. The good news about this story is, her incompetence is so spectacular she can't hide it well enough to keep her job long-term. I'd lay down money that the next big screw-up will happen this school year, and that it will get her fired. Hopefully Paly kids will give her something suitable to overreact to. Make me proud, guys.


Posted by Bobby, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 13, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Instead of suspending the kids, just fine them enough so we do not need this new school parcel tax. City residents are paying tons of money to support public schools. All the kids do in return is whine? What kind of new welfare generation are we raising?


Posted by Paly 08 grad, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm

LOL or we could jut make them clean it up.

Yeah, it's "welfare" that you're being asked to pay another $96 a year to fund the public school system that adds literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to your home's value. Unless you're renting and have no kids, in which case you're "only" investing in America's future.


Posted by Paly 06 grad, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 13, 2010 at 1:52 pm

I like your thinking, Paly 08 grad. I never had McEvoy as a principal, but I haven't heard a single good comment about her.


Posted by paly 12, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 13, 2010 at 2:10 pm

$3200 damage is serious. Of course the guilty students should be held accountable. If it results in not getting into their dream school, so be it. High school students are old enough to know better. Lesson learned. Blaming the principal is utterly ridiculous.


Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 13, 2010 at 2:45 pm

"High school students are old enough to know better."

Anecdotal evidence says otherwise.


Posted by wow, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 13, 2010 at 6:28 pm

What's the big deal. The're just eggs.

If they weren't thrown, they'd be broken anyway. They'd either be cracked intentionally to make scrambled omelets (Ok - so I'm not the world's best chef), or dropped accidentally and not cleaned up unless Mom were home and the dog was sleeping.

And not all of the eggs were frozen - if they were, there wouldn't have been much of a mess, so let's learn from that next time and freeze all the eggs.

Regarding the potential danger, there wasn't any actual danger since no-one got SERIOUSLY hurt. No harm, no fowl (well, can't say that since eggs were involved...).

And what's up with the suspensions? What gives anyone the right to do that? Oh yeah, it's the principal of the thing.

And do you think it's fair for this to result in colleges overturning admission offers? What kind "penalty" is that? If I had a kid going off to private college and found out that his/her admission had been revoked, I couldn't count up my newfound return of funds fast enough. How do you spell R-E-W-W-A-R-D?

So next time your Jack or Jill contemplates not participating, be the parent and encourage their involvement. It's part of the high school experience, might get them credit for P.E. class, and for only $3200, it costs less (after-tax) than a daily venti mocha for the year.








Posted by Palo Alto tax payer, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 13, 2010 at 7:37 pm

"The Oct. 27 "egg war" took place between members of Palo Alto High School's junior and senior classes on the Gunn High School campus, damaging the school's new track, scoreboards and pool deck and requiring professional cleanup at a cost of $3,200."

Give me a break. The Paly students had their egg fight at Gunn and make a big mess. Now they are complaining because they got caught and suspended. There parents got a lawyer to threaten to file a law suite against the school board so they won't have any consequences. Like it was the school board who had the egg fight and the students were the victims.

Also, also anyone think it was an accident that the Paly students made a mess of Gunn's new track, scoreboards, and pool deck.

I think we should sue the Paly students and their parents for the cost of the damages, the time spent by the school admin to deal with this, the time that the school board has to spend on this, legal costs, and triple damages. This should go in their record too.

This is outrageous behavior on the part of the students in the egg fight and their parents.



Posted by sick of the whining, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 13, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Consequences and punishment and accountability, oh my!

Paly students who were involved included student leaders who should have known better but who have apparently not heard the word "no" in this lifetime. Please do not back down. What they did was vandalism. Ugly word, but legal reality. That a lawyer would threaten the school board in public is obscene. This whole thing demonstrates how out of control the entitlement attitude is at Paly.


Posted by former Paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 13, 2010 at 8:44 pm

Astonishing this is still going...lots of prior discussion on the topic...now getting lawyered up...fact remains these kids "did wrong" and no, not every student would do such a thing.


Posted by Anon, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 13, 2010 at 9:52 pm

The kids never whined. Parents of students not involved and parents of students involved were incensed at the lack of due process and fairness and the abundance of favoritism and incompetance from the administration. And this is just getting me started... And by the way, all the kids I spoke with said they would take responsibility and cleanup and parents I spoke with would have footed the bill. Lesson 101 taught to students and parents by the administration's handling of this event was keep your mouth shut because they only want a few scapegoats anyways.


Posted by paly senior, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 13, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Wow. I'm actually fuming right now.

paly 12: For one night of fun, students shouldn't have to give up their future.

Palo Alto tax payer: ITS A TRADITION! There's NO WAY it wasn't going to happen. I was looking forward to being a senior egg thrower and egg wars since I first heard about it in 8th grade. You obviously did not have a fun time in high school, otherwise you'd understand. PALY parents shouldn't have to pay a dime -- how is it their fault? I'm down for paying for the damaged done, I understand that we were irresponsible in picking gunn as a place, but we shouldn't be sued. I mean honestly?

sick of the whining: Wow, really? Do you think that paly students haven't heard the word 'no' before? If you're sick of whining, then I'm sick of hearing that we're spoiled brats. Sorry that we have the resources to stick up for ourselves. We're lucky that some of our peers are lawyers for parents, otherwise half the grade would have been suspended for five days. Having a lawyer, especially for something as unjust as this, is perfectly legal.

In my opinion...paly students (namely juniors and seniors, the grades that participated) should pay for the damage. But suspensions take it to far -- they can seriously hurt a student's chances into getting into a good school. And I'm sorry, but I think it's wrong to tell a student they can't get into Duke, Yale, etc. because they threw eggs for one night.


Posted by paly senior, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 13, 2010 at 11:28 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by parent, a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2010 at 12:18 am

Do you know how hard it has been to find and keep principals at Paly? Look at the track record for the past, what, 10+ years? Other than the beloved Sandra Pearson, you have to go way back to find one who stayed for more than a few years. And now you want this one fired? Good luck?!


Posted by EPA Resident, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 14, 2010 at 5:57 am

I'm not familiar with Paly's "traditions" (I went to Gunn) but I have little sympathy for the students in this situation. Destroying/damaging property does have consequences and a 1 day suspension seems extremely mild. Also, the NCAA rules, according to the article, require disclosure of the disciplinary incident - they do not bar the student from participating. So, the students need to disclose and explain their actions. Not the end of the world and a good life lesson in accountability. If you do destructive/damaging things, yes, Virginia, it will be on your record (was getting chased off Stanford campus by the cops maybe a teeny tiny clue?).

Instead of enabling this type of behavior by hiring lawyers to get their kids off the hook, perhaps parents should be telling their kids to stay away from "traditions" that could get them into trouble.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 14, 2010 at 6:51 am

What about any other kids who were suspended during the year. Do they all get free passes too? Where's the accountability for ones actions?
We all experience life lessons as we grow. The question is will we learn from them? Or, will we always try to avoid the truth.


Posted by Jeff, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 14, 2010 at 7:35 am

I have no idea why any person would want the job of Paly Principal in light of the insufferable masters-of-the universe parents whose precious bratty kids just can't do anything wrong. I'd rather have root canal without anesthesia.


Posted by Bruce Li, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 14, 2010 at 8:45 am

PAUSD hold your ground and DO NOT let these parents continue to teach their kids the wrong message. It's obvious they lack the basic parenting skills of teaching responsibility, consequences, and the value of obeying rules and the law. Give me a break!


Posted by strange, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2010 at 8:48 am



if they sue, won't they need to reveal the names of the students?

if I were the Principal, I'd welcome the lawsuit and make this even more public, and have the threatening parents come out of anonymity, who knew egg wars could be fun after all.

why couldn't they have been nice and begged, that sort of thing, vilifying her could not have helped.


Posted by strange, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2010 at 11:30 am




a story about a parent going to trial for cursing at a principal


Web Link

"School officials say they're taking the unusual step of prosecuting her to show that people can't get away with calling principals vulgar names."



Posted by eggontheirfaces, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 14, 2010 at 11:36 am

Yeah, next thing the egg-throwing scumm will be demanding CEO bonuses.

This is the start of the expection that laws do not apply to rich little palo alto punks.


Posted by Jeff, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jan 14, 2010 at 12:59 pm

As a Paly parent I can attest from experience that the parents who have employed that attorney represent a sizable group that is are utterly insufferable. They are making certain that their kids, who of course can do no wrong, will grow up to be just as insufferable and obnoxious as their parents.


Posted by Innocent, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 14, 2010 at 2:43 pm

The lawyers are representing those students who had come forward because they were told they would not be in nearly as much trouble than if they didn't....When in reality, the few that did come forward (Compared to the 100+ others who didn't) were suspended. Is it really necessary to only suspend a small percentage of the participators while the others continue on to college with a clean record? Think about it...


Posted by Doober, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2010 at 2:54 pm

There is a reason why these kids have their egg wars off campus! It's because they know it's an activity that will get them in trouble!!!!!!!!!
If any student vandalizes property at school they get punished!!!!!! That's how it works.


Posted by Paly 08 grad, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 14, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Palo Alto toughguy parents, you guys are amazing. Sorry you weren't there to personally teargas these kids.

Why not make them clean it up and make them split the cost of any professional cleanup they can't perform themselves? That way they are literally accountable, that way they literally learn about responsibility. Subjecting these kids to arbitrary administrative punishment, unconnected to the nature of their crime, is what's going to give them weird ideas about justice.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 14, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Should it cost a family $100,000 or more in tuition because their kid thru some eggs?

This potential lawsuit is not because a student won't get accepted to a school (already a life changing event) but because the student may not be eligible for a scholarship which could be life changing for the student if they can no longer afford that school and potentially life changing for their whole family.

Taken by itself, the parental response to this incident seems to be ridiculous. But the response to the principal is based on YEARS of dealing with her over reacting and her harsh disciplinary style - not just this one incident. The egg wars were stupid and wrong, but did they ever really deserve a 5 day suspension?

Much of the parent outrage over this event was because the punishment did not fit the crime. If you suspend a student for 5 days for throwing eggs, what do you do if they bring a knife to school, deal drugs, etc.



Posted by gruber, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 14, 2010 at 4:24 pm

If anybody dared to pelt the driveway of any of the whining parents with eggs the police would be called and the parents would expect the perpetrators to be caught and punished, maybe even go to jail. An act of vandalism cannot be excused on the grounds that the vandals are high school juniors/seniors and the act is considered a harmless tradition. The kids who had been caught deserve to be banned from good colleges, since they exhibited a lack of minimal good judgment and common sense. May Chico State be the only college that accepts them, now that would be proper punishment!


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I'm standing on no man's land at the moment but as I have no horse in the race, a couple of things seem to need pointing out.

A couple of hundred kids were involved in this and only a handful were honorable enough to admit it. These honorable students did the right thing in owning up, but they are the ones who got suspended. Those that were not caught or did not own up got no punishment.

From this point alone, it looks as if those who did not own up are getting off scott free. Not only did they not have to cough up the expenses of clean up, or even volunteer to help with the clean up, or even get the suspensions, but they then get the clear path on their college applications. Those who did own up and apologise, are now stuck with the supensions on their records at the present time and the lack of getting scholarships as well as having to contribute to the cleanup costs.

At present it looks like keeping mum was the best option and those who did the right thing are getting the harsher lesson that owning up never pays. Somehow that doesn't sound right to me.

In the same vein that those who were not involved should not have to contribute to the clean up (by losing funds for graduation activities) but those who confessed should be treated leniently also. Otherwise, those who were not caught and didn't confess are the only winners here.

That to me is the wrong lesson being taught.


Posted by sick of the whining, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Getting suspended for throwing eggs is not an automatic path to losing an athletic scholarship. You are required to explain the situation. It will be up to the schools.

And yes, the ones who are getting away with it are getting away with something. Happens every day, esp. in the business world. The question is not whether everyone should get away with it so much as whether, at the end of the day, a kid will be the kind of human who takes personal responsibility or one who does not. Even if they have to pay a price, they will learn a lot from the experience. Moreover, it is hard to imagine that ALL of the kids who were suspended were in line for athletic scholarships allowing them a free ride to their college of choice. Remember that Stanford didn't care that Paly's valedictorian was a plagiarist. This is probably all a tempest in a teapot, but those kids should be held accountable for what they did as they were informed by Stanford police that it was illegal. At that point, it switched from a tradition to vandalism. Backing off completely is not the right path.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 14, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Did the stanford police really tell them it was illegal or just send them off of stanford property? The PA police told them it was ok if they were only throwing eggs at each other.


Posted by strange, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2010 at 9:57 am



throwing eggs at each other, but wouldn't it be illegal to throw it at property?

what if a buch of kids from East Palo Alto came over and had an egg fight on Paly grounds, and trashed it? and called it tradition.

I bet everyone would be up in arms about it.






Posted by Howard, a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 15, 2010 at 10:44 am

Since only a small minority of egg throwers had the courage and decency to admit their actions and were left to hold the bag while the majority of the egg throwers is cowardly keeping silent, I don't understand why the students who were left to hold the bag aren't revealing the names of those cowards who definitely don't deserve that "code of silence" sacrifice. I also wish to side with the posters who have pointed out that the outraged parents would never put up with anybody defacing THEIR own property, but are very nonchalant about their kids defacement of public property. If any kids, let alone kids from nearby poor communities surrounding used the excuse of "tradition" and "letting off steam" to deface those parents property, the police would be summoned immediately. Those parents are pretty disgusting people. As a Play parent I have seen this type of parents in action for too long which has caused me to avoid Paly as much as possible.


Posted by Lighten Up People!, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 15, 2010 at 11:50 am

I don't live in the PA school district, don't know the kids, have no dog in this fight. But it seems to me that this whole thing is part of a larger trend in our society to essentially criminalize what is just normal juvenile behavior. It was just an egg fight for crying out loud! The kids didn't intend to damage school property. Make the kids involved perform restitution, but don't put something silly like this as a disciplinary item in their permanent record. Do we really think these are bad kids that need to have their college admissions prospects damaged over this incident? None of us in the older generation were subject to the kind of monitoring and severe consequences that we're trying to stick on the poor kids of the current generation. Lighten up people!


Posted by strange, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2010 at 12:01 pm



Lighten up people,

another "have no dog in the fight" comment with a full blown explanation of what the kids intended to do or not, and how they are victims of a terrible mistake.

who's fighting? It's their lawsuit, who needs to lighten up?





Posted by strange, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2010 at 12:13 pm


"Later, McEvoy said she would expunge the suspensions entirely if students remained on good behavior for the rest of the year."

isn't that enough?

still think some old fashioned begging and pretty please, and not attacking this Principal would go a long way. These students seem like good kids, it's not theri fault the parents are going this route,





Posted by Julian, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm

It was not "just an egg fight" The frozen eggs demonstrated premeditated intent to maim. If any of them had hurt my kid I would have sued everybody in sight, including the parents. Good for McEvoy in holding the participants responsible.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I suspect what we are seeing here is a convergence, indeed a collision, of two different trends or forces.

One the one hand the Palo Alto (and I include Gunnn as well) public school parents are a bit more able to get "lawyered up", indeed are "self-lawyered up". Whether or not in this instance it is an abuse of that potential or power which lets their so-called "spoiled little whiners not learn a life lesson" OR is a legal protection that ALL public school children should be availed, is perhaps one of the core disputes. When one looks at the facts as to how the anti Egg War crusade was waged one is left shaking their head as to "what were they smoking?".

Perhaps a mix of both?

On the other hand the entire public school infrastructure and mindset statewide and nationally is being more and more modeled after prisons. It would be naive to assume that trend or administrative mindset wouldn't osmoticaly someday drift into PA schools. The whole Guilliani take on it. I suspect that the reason the whole Egg War issue wasn't publicly addressed in advance was a mix of 1) not wanting to subject it to the "Palo Alto process" and 2) a bit of wanting to "nab the perps".

But to quote that survivalist from the movie Tremors...."you broke into the wrong Rec Room".


Posted by Anon, a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 15, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Just wondering, because the Egg Wars were not (officially) authorized by Palo Alto High school, why is the school administrators taking the burden of punishing the students?

They would have to find out who did it, for the police, as vandalism is a criminal offense, but do they actually have the right to punish the students?

As said by someone else in the forum, why isn't Gunn suing/punishing the kids, instead?

Furthermore, it's life. Getting punished over "one night of fun" is analogous to getting pregnant after having sex for the first time. Kids will be kids, but they're going have to learn.

I admit, it's unfair for a couple of students out of many to receive the blame. If anything... it'd be better to punish the entire junior and senior classes. All for one, hmm? Make them do community service or something.

However, vandalism does warrant suspension (though that's usually happens if the vandalism is done the school's property... if the kids had done it at some parking lot, they'd get arrested, which would be worse for the students' academic record.)


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2010 at 9:30 pm

It seems a little off that being suspended for a day over a school prank group event is supposed to be a material factor in college admissions, scholarships, etc. I was suspended in high school at least once I can think of (for fighting); I got admitted to the college of my choice and was offered academic scholarships elsewhere. Where did the idea come from that a one day suspension was such a black mark?


Posted by not again, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2010 at 10:21 pm

For those of you who think that there was no intent why would a student at Paly put this on Facebook?

"Paly vs Gunn eggs wars anyone?!"

Since this has reared it's ugly head again I will now mail all of the Facebook postings that I have copies of to the district office for their review.


Posted by Larry, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 16, 2010 at 2:22 am

A lawsuit? What's the tort, obstruction of privilege?

"What if a buch of kids from East Palo Alto came over and had an egg fight on Paly grounds, and trashed it? And called it tradition."

Well they sure as heck wouldn't have mater and pater hiring a lawyer to sue the school district so their insufferable spoiled brats could get into Harvard without a hitch.

A very wise person once said, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time." It applies in Palo Alto just as it does everywhere else.


Posted by Teacher in Palo Alto, a resident of Ventura
on Jan 16, 2010 at 10:23 am

I'm so glad to read all of the comments here and find out I'm not alone in being utterly disgusted with some parents in this district who refuse to discipline their own kids and then blame everyone else but themselves when those kids run into trouble.

Regarding those you say "it's just eggs", FYI....eggs are strongly acidic and will damage the paint on a car in a matter of minutes. Rubber (such as the new track surface at Gunn) is known to be susceptible to chemical damage. $3200 is a drop in the bucket compared to what the damage could have been.


Posted by A Palo Alto parent, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 16, 2010 at 10:37 am

Here's what the penal code of California says:

a) Every person who maliciously commits any of the following
acts with respect to any real or personal property not his or her
own, in cases other than those specified by state law, is guilty of
vandalism:
(1) Defaces with graffiti or other inscribed material.
(2) Damages.
(3) Destroys.
Whenever a person violates this subdivision with respect to real
property, vehicles, signs, fixtures, furnishings, or property
belonging to any public entity, as defined by Section 811.2 of the
Government Code, or the federal government, it shall be a permissive
inference that the person neither owned the property nor had the
permission of the owner to deface, damage, or destroy the property.
(b) (1) If the amount of defacement, damage, or destruction is
four hundred dollars ($400) or more, vandalism is punishable by
imprisonment in the state prison or in a county jail not exceeding
one year, or by a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars
($10,000), or if the amount of defacement, damage, or destruction is
ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or more, by a fine of not more than
fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), or by both that fine and
imprisonment.
(2) (A) If the amount of defacement, damage, or destruction is
less than four hundred dollars ($400), vandalism is punishable by
imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by a fine of
not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both that fine
and imprisonment.
(B) If the amount of defacement, damage, or destruction is less
than four hundred dollars ($400), and the defendant has been
previously convicted of vandalism or affixing graffiti or other
inscribed material under Section 594, 594.3, 594.4, 640.5, 640.6, or
640.7, vandalism is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for
not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than five thousand
dollars ($5,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.
(c) Upon conviction of any person under this section for acts of
vandalism consisting of defacing property with graffiti or other
inscribed materials, the court shall, when appropriate and feasible,
in addition to any punishment imposed under subdivision (b), order
the defendant to clean up, repair, or replace the damaged property
himself or herself, or order the defendant, and his or her parents or
guardians if the defendant is a minor, to keep the damaged property
or another specified property in the community free of graffiti for
up to one year. Participation of a parent or guardian is not required
under this subdivision if the court deems this participation to be
detrimental to the defendant, or if the parent or guardian is a
single parent who must care for young children. If the court finds
that graffiti cleanup is inappropriate, the court shall consider
other types of community service, where feasible.
(d) If a minor is personally unable to pay a fine levied for acts
prohibited by this section, the parent of that minor shall be liable
for payment of the fine. A court may waive payment of the fine, or
any part thereof, by the parent upon a finding of good cause.
(e) As used in this section, the term "graffiti or other inscribed
material" includes any unauthorized inscription, word, figure, mark,
or design, that is written, marked, etched, scratched, drawn, or
painted on real or personal property.
(f) The court may order any person ordered to perform community
service or graffiti removal pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision
(c) to undergo counseling.
(g) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2002.


Posted by A Palo Alto parent, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 16, 2010 at 10:43 am

I don't know whether this is a matter for a principal to be handing out suspensions over, but these parents aren't doing their kids any favors by teaching them that it's OK to break the law.


Posted by not again, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2010 at 4:03 pm

The clean-up costs were $3200. However, the eggs that were thrown on the track could not be completely cleaned. A brand new track that was not even two months old is now marked with egg residue for it's lifetime. 51 splotches were counted on the track.

For those of you who do not get it, eggs cause permanent damage. Residue can be cleaned up immediately but not after it sets in. Permanent damage to any property is a shame and those who did the damage should be embarrassed rather than coming home and bragging on Facebook knowing that they have done damage to a neighbor.


Posted by former Paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 16, 2010 at 4:31 pm

This was clearly a stupid act. It's just the weirdest story to me. It is not a tradition we were familiar with and I checked with some current Paly seniors and juniors who did not participate and THEY found it stupid and said they were too busy for such idiocy. So put to rest the idea of punishing the entire senior and junior classes. Instead, how about holding accountable the ones who did the action and the damage?

I find it difficult to reconcile with the constant brags that Paly student leaders and other students are so brilliant when they (SOME of them, anyway) participate in nonsense like this. It IS nonsense, not highly important, but it is also vandalism and I am concerned with equity of treatment of students who are not able to get lawyered up.

It would be simpler if students would behave better and show judgement commensurate with their stated images (brilliant SAT test scores, top athlete deserving a scholarship, etc.) Egg Wars sounds so laughably juvenile! Nowadays we are informed PA high school students are sophisticated, grown-up, and some are and some sure are not.

It IS possible to blow off steam, as others have written was the goal, without damaging and vandalising new school property and possibly injuring others with frozen eggs.


Posted by Mark, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 17, 2010 at 6:09 pm

I see four very large problems here:

1) The punishment is not applied uniformly - only those who admitted to being involved are being punished. Whatever "lesson" you hope to teach the kids is lost when you reward other kids for lying.

2) The punishment for these high school students is greater than if a college freshman had done the same thing. Think about: if you're 19 or 20 and you throw eggs on a school track, you will go to court, get probation, community service and be required to make restitution. But if you're 17 or 18, you can be kept out of college.

3) Schools are used to having unassailable authority. When they abuse their authority, they go up against minor children who have limited rights and rarely assert them. On the rare occasion that children demand due process, people are up in arms because they should have laid down and taken whatever beating the school wants to administer. I assume that these same people would forgo a lawyer if they were unjustly accused of something.

4) A generation ago, children simply did not get punished so mercilessly for transgressions like this. When I was in the 9th grade, 10 or 12 of us vandalized some desks. The repair costs were not insignificant, and we cleaned the school for a month as punishment. Lesson learned. Only an angry and bitter school administrator would have tried to ruin my future academic career.


Posted by strange, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2010 at 6:25 pm



Mark,

how can someone be kept out of college?



Posted by not again, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2010 at 7:48 pm

So, if a group of four random people permanently damaged the new turf field at Paly and only two of them get caught, do you let those two go because you cannot find the others?

No one is being kept out of college, but they do have to explain themselves and why they did what they admitted to doing.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 17, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Not again

They did not get caught, they owned up (a few may have got caught). In your scenario, change the words got caught to owned up and then see how it reads. Surely admitting they had done wrong and apologising with offers to compensate makes a big difference.


Posted by sick of trhe whining, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2010 at 5:50 am

Re: owning up - was it or was it not the case that the police found receipts with parents' credit card #s and names on them at the scene, making it really easy to identify some of the perpetrators? So again, if you get caught, take the consequences. Shame on the other parents whose kids were not caught for not making them "own up" for real.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 18, 2010 at 11:25 am

To "Sick of the whining".

So if the police found the "evidence", and that made it "really easy" to identify the "perpetrators"...then why didn't the police follow through? Instead they declined.

All those receipts prove is (maybe) who bought something. Not who threw any eggs, much less where those eggs were thrown...earlier at a Stanford field of dirt or grass, on Barron Park grass, or indeed one of the ones which did some damage? Indeed years ago I purchased a ton of eggs for this activity....when it was done on the "rural" Stanford area and did virtually no damage.

A quick review of what happened.

For many years the Senior/Junior Egg War was an unofficial tradition. Just because a few of you older Paly grads don't remember it, never heard of it, doesn't mean jack. When I was in high school my activities and associations generate today many different memories than perhaps many of the other grads. The students participating in the yearly Egg War were mostly the ones who worked on the float, the ones with the green Paly Spirit bumper stickers on their cars, etc. I say this not to either extol nor denigrate the activity or the participants, but rather to point out that a reasonable and public effort to counter or dissuade this unofficial tradition shouldn't have been expected as resembling a plea or an attempt by the head of the DEA to encourage all major drug dealers to cease and desist. But nothing of that sort occurred. It was as if the Paly Admin was all to eager to foster and engage in a cat and mouse game with the students. Why ruin such fun with a public discussion or appeal?

So the new aggressive Paly admin. could have either just said "it's not on school grounds and not our concern" OR issued something of a public notice that this unofficial tradition is a cause for concern. Now before those of you whom seem to enjoy wallowing in the Gunn victimhood of the egg assault weigh in...remember that I am talking about an essentially harmless activity which occurred in an area where the egg throwing did virtually no damage at all.

So then enter the new Paly admin. As part of a recognizable pattern---gone are the theatrical re-enactments and last years graduation had a police presence befitting a valid fear of a terrorist attack (Taliban Streakers!)---the rabid "get the perps" approach to the egg war activity backfired in two ways. One way it backfired is that the students moved it to Barron Park and then the Gunn campus. And there, yes some students did apparently throw a small portion of the eggs at "targets" there. Another way it backfired is that the Paly Admin took a page out of the new public school "we be baby prisons" book and launched an over the top vindictive investigation. This then has served to expose the overall trend as well as enrage some of the kids so affected. And their parents.

Ye reap what ye sow.

I care less about any lawsuit than I do about calling for a serious review of the whole direction and philosophy which has led to this situation.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by strange, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm



A Noun Ea Mus,

the "prison" system is ONLY because of the size of the schools. you want change, do something about it, as long as the schools are this big, or bigger, I would imagine things "change" from the good ole days.

you blame everyone for the "backfire" when property was damaged, everyone should count their blessings a person did not get hurt

at some point you can't blame the system, the punishment, or some meany out to get you personally,

this is what a 3000 student school?


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Jan 18, 2010 at 11:13 pm

"the "prison" system is ONLY because of the size of the schools. you want change, do something about it, as long as the schools are this big, or bigger, I would imagine things "change" from the good ole days."

No, schools used to be more modeled after factories. With the drive to destroy public education, replace it with vouchers for the wealthy, and to subcontract out the rest of public education to the low bidders, the prison model enters. Easy to do because the prison/industrial complex is an already established entity. A natural convergence.

It's more than just the size of the school.

"you blame everyone for the "backfire" when property was damaged, everyone should count their blessings a person did not get hurt"

I don't blame "everyone" for the "backfire". There are, in fact, a few specific individuals with an established and recognized agenda which predictably herded the Egg War into this outcome.

And yes some property was damaged. But to blow this episode up into a "count their blessings a person didn't did not get hurt" is to give hyperbole a bad name.

If there is any justification for all the hue and cry regarding criminalizing this incident, stances reminiscent of proto-vigilantism, etc., one has to ask oneself why instead the Paly Admin didn't just refer this to the PAPD for a proper investigation and proper charges?

I would love to be a fly on the wall in the PAPD and hear what they must have said about the PAHS administrations agenda and requests!


Posted by A Paly Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 25, 2010 at 5:15 pm

UGGGH... I can't believe all you self rightous ones who say ... they did it, they should be punished!!. Yes, of course, but shouldn't the "they" be all of them?? or at least try to discover who most of them were who did it? OR, GOD FORBIDE, try some semblence of fairness, due process and conduct a CREDIBLE INVESTIGATION to find out the true scope of what went down??? What the administration did was instead throw a temper tantrum. The first students they "netted" where promptly thrown the book at (5 day suspensions)and everyone else was either scared off from fessin' up or let off because of favoritism!! Should't the punishment match the crime?? If your son or daughter was caught in their web wouldn't you be upset!! The complaint from parents is not that the students shouldn't be punished just that the process by the administration was flawed and was a rush to judgement. Those assistant principles acted as judge and jury in less time than it used to take for you to turn into the school parking lot from Embarcadero. If this is how they handle incidents at school and after school I don't want them in a position of leadership in my school district.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 5:24 pm

The fact that the principal has now resigned proves in many ways that she was not a good fit for Paly. She had been in a school district where punishing students for their bad behavior was probably a daily occurance and where students were in definite need of a strong hand of discipline. This is not the case in Palo Alto.

Agreed that the egg wars was not a good idea even in an area of nothing but trees, but there have been so many flaws in the way that this was handled. Apart from the fact that many of the kids who were punished may have only hit their schoolmates and the ones who did the damage were probably a minority who may have got away with it, this is just the final straw in a catalog of mishandled situations. Even the situation with staff has caused a stir eg the historical reenactments.

If the egg wars issue had not happened, I feel sure that at some stage the same outcome would have occurred. The principal was not the right type of principal for Paly. She was probably a good fit for her previous schoool.


Posted by enough already, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:49 pm



Resident,

if only the same could be said about some of the obnoxious parents - these parents are really not the the right type of parents for Paly, they're probably a good fit somewhere else.

why do you guys insist on the attacking McEvoy, some sordid pleasure out of it? or you want someone to say you are so right?

the only thing that surprised me to see is that she was not paid enough, and whoever takes this job should take out legal insurance












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