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Keeping outsiders out of PAUSD

Original post made by Parent without handles on Jul 22, 2008

Rather than worrying about keeping Tinsley or LAH kids out of PAUSD who legally have the right to be here , we should be much more concerned about keeping those who are non-residents of Palo Alto out. Web Link

It is not only dishonest for non-residents to get their kids into our schools, but teaching the kids that dishonesty pays as long as you don't get caught. Can you imagine telling your child to lie to his friends and teachers about where he lives?

This problem is bigger than most of us imagine. I have known at least one student who lives with a relative during the week in PA, and goes home to be with parents on Friday evenings.

Comments (71)

Posted by Mom, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 22, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Parent w/o, you should report that child to the administration at Churchill. All it takes is a phone call.

I phoned in a student and they checked up on it and the student's family was forced to move back into their house in Palo Alto, which they were renting out.

To those families who are cheating, the administrators will show up at the house anytime, anyday. They showed up at an odd hour and busted this family.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2008 at 8:06 pm

We have had this discussion before, but it is probably worth discussing again.Web Link

Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 22, 2008 at 8:45 pm

The School District needs to remove all those who attend PAUSD schools but don't live in the District.

A case in point was reported in Tuesday's edition of the PADN (7/22) in which they wrote: "A Sunnyvale family sent their children to Hoover Elementary by producing a grant deed for a Palo Alto home occupied by the children's grandparents...." The Mother reported that Palo Alto officials never checked to see where the children actually lived.

Hoover Elementary has a waiting list in some grades and yet our School District allows children who live in Sunnyvale to attend. Claims of living in Palo Alto obviously need much greater scrutiny by Staff to clear out non-resident students.

Posted by Best Place in America, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2008 at 8:50 pm

" was forced to move back into their house in Palo Alto."

Now, that's a weird statement. The convenience to everything (10 min.), great food, great public education, friendly people, sandwiched in between two major highways, famous university. No wonder everyone wants to be here. Why can't they rent instead of forcing their children to be looking over their shoulders all the time?

Posted by Parent without handles, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2008 at 9:11 pm

The link to this report is in the opening paragraph of the initial post, but it is right beside the print/email logo and doesn't stand out very well.

Hoover not only has a waiting list for entrance, but is lottery based from the start. This family has not only got in by false pretences, but has given others in the lottery a bigger risk of failure, particularly as the first child will give sibling preference to others.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2008 at 11:15 am

I don't think any of us would like to tattle tail on neighbors or our kids' classmates. I do think that periodic checks of all families makes sense though.

Neighbors of ours were remodling their home last year and were in effect living out of the district for some of the school year. It would be ludicrous for them to have to change schools twice in a school year for this reason, so I can understand why they tried to hide it. But, I don't know if they got their kids to lie about where they were staying for this time.

Posted by Neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 24, 2008 at 7:29 am

Parent: "I don't think many of us would like to tattle tail on neighbors." If it involved misuse of my hard earned tax dollars, you bet I would. Parent obviously doesn't care about overcrowded schools and the misuse of Government funds. I hope at least the students will help identify cheaters in our schools because this isn't just one or two kids, each year there are hundreds.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2008 at 10:12 am


I do agree with your sentiments and it is fine while these kids are anonymous. But, could you honestly report your child's best friend, or the nice old lady living next door who has looked after her grandchildren since they were babies on an almost day to day basis.

I agree that these kids shouldn't be here but I don't want to be the one to do it. However, the school offices are often suspicious and should be the first to report. Otherwise, it should be prevention rather than anything else. Yes keep these kids out and if they get found out, that is fine by me. Just don't expect me do it.

Posted by palo alto parent, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2008 at 11:58 am

Families who send their kids to PAUSD schools yet live elsewhere are dishonest and are stealing from children. That may sound harsh, but we have a finite amount of money to spend in PAUSD.

If you know a family who resides outside of PAUSD that is sending their child(ren) here illegally, PLEASE REPORT THEM TO THE SCHOOL DISTRICT. You can do so anonymously. The way our district is funded, more students mean each one gets a smaller amount of money - illegal students are stealing resources from the students who are residents of PAUSD. I believe the district gives families a time limit to move into Palo Alto, they will not kick the kids out of school that day.

I know you might feel bad reporting them - but if they were stealing food, water, mail, etc. from you or your neighbors, would you report them? This is no different - they are deliberately stealing from children - many who have families that sacrifice a lot to send their kids to school here legally.

Posted by Paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 24, 2008 at 3:06 pm

It is difficult to report a suspicious student at the high school level because they are secretive. They have "systems" to make this work.
I believe there are (at least) two girls at Paly who do not live in PA, they are social with my student yet very hazy about home phone # etc.. I do not feel in a position to press them on this. One openly lives part-time in San Francisco but the family has some scheme going. Of course many students with divorced parents have the kid go to school in PAUSD,that is not what I am objecting to though it is also sort of a scheme.

Posted by paly parent, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 24, 2008 at 9:12 pm

techinically students are required to live in Palo Alto 7 days a week to attend PAUSD (not sure how that would work with parents in different towns, but the kids shouldn't be penalized. I agree that the the family from SF who has a "scheme going" should be reported.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 24, 2008 at 9:25 pm

It's legal to live temporarily outside the district while you've got a remodel going at your primary residence. It's about the only exception on the books.

I'm not sure what kids of divorced parents do--they must bend the seven-day rule or something.

Weirdest twist I've heard lately--a family's renting their home in San Jose where they've lived for years and is renting a place in Palo Alto so their kids can go to school here.

I think there's a real misunderstanding about what going to PAUSD schools will do for you. The education's good, but it doesn't guarantee your child entree to Stanford or the UCs or the Ivy League. Because of the competition here, it may even work against that.

If my heart was set on my kid going to Stanford, I'd move to North Dakota or Maine.

Posted by Me, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 25, 2008 at 10:28 am

If the parents are divorced and one parent lives in PA, it's acceptable to me.

It's those who have a grandparent or live out of town who are seriously cheating the system. It seems that all PAUSD would have to do for leads is check the DL's of the drivers who drop off the students either at school or surrounding areas (those who drop off a block away and have the kid walk to fake like they live nearby).

I know of a student who lived in Los Altos while renting out their small PA house and they were caught. They were driving 20-25 min. to get to school in the morning and the child could not easily play with his friends because the friends lived in PA. The child stated that it was much easier living back in PA. Imagine the extra stress the children have to bear because of their parents wanting them in PAUSD. The parent refused to send the child to Los Altos schools, and they are considered good.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 25, 2008 at 12:53 pm


I feel sorry for a kid whose parents are so brand-name oriented that they won't send their kid to Los Altos schools. I mean, I understand it (though it's still wrong) if you're in a district with some truly poor schools. But Los Altos? The schools are excellent and safe. Someone needs to grow up--and it's not the kid.

Posted by Me, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 25, 2008 at 1:02 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by My limited experience, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 25, 2008 at 1:35 pm

I know of 2 families that live in home outside of Palo Alto, rented out their Palo Alto homes, and continued to have the kids attend Palo Alto schools. Strangely enough, both families are from Taiwan. I did not report the families.

I know of one senior citizen couple who left Palo Alto several years ago, rent out their home to a family with school age kids, and still claim the parcel tax exemption.

I know of another senior citizen who sold his large home to his daughter for 250K about 3 years ago, yet he still lives in the home and claims the parcel tax exemption.

I reported the seniors to the PAUSD, but PAUSD declined to take any action.

Posted by Grandma, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 25, 2008 at 3:17 pm

I think this problem is far greater than the PAUSD is able to get a handle on. A neighbor of mine had their child in one of the special programs at Loma Vista. The child lived with her Mother outside PA.

Every morning she'd drive the child to the father's house in PA where a special bus would pick her up and take her to school. The reverse would happen in the evening. This went on for years. Obviously the School District was happy with it because the child was being picked up and returned to an address in PA even though she slept outside PA.

I have sympathy for the School District, there are obviously some blurred lines here.

Posted by Chris, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 25, 2008 at 3:42 pm

If this problem is more than a handful of students who cheat, then it is probably worth hiring a full-time staff investigator, one that has the stuff to actually follow up and enforce the rules (backed up by the BoE). I don't know the current siuation, but it sounds like there may be a part-time person who makes phone calls, and that will not cut it.

Any questionable student should be forced to provide his/her parent's last three years of tax returns. This should be followed by surprise home visits. All of this stuff can be stopped cold, if there is a will do it.

Posted by Friend, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Some friends of ours in Cupertino recently divorced. For the father to get any weekend custody of the kids he had to move back to Cupertino from Sunnyvale where he had rented an apartment. The Judge would not give him overnight custody unless he lived in the same school district and if he moved out again he would lose his overnight privileges. This was a particularly nasty divorce.

Divorce is something that is often not excluded, so be careful on that one.

Posted by Me, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 25, 2008 at 4:43 pm

My limited experience, please report the Taiwanese families who are cheating. Here's the number and you don't need to leave your name: 329-3707. PAUSD needs all the leads they can get. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] If you report it, PAUSD will move on it because our schools are overflowing. The families already own homes--they just need to move back to PA. They obviously want it both ways--large house but PA schools.

They need a detective to actually follow kids home. Ten years ago I read about them doing that in New Jersey.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 25, 2008 at 6:54 pm

It seems to me that one thing that might help is a hefty fine. I think the problem is actually fairly substantial--simply because we all know about specific incidences. The fines could then be used to pay the investigators.

Me, I've heard what you're saying before. Seems to be a combination of a culture concerned with outward status (making Mao a real irony among other things) and misconception about how the university system here works--i.e. you can be rich and successful without going to Stanford, MIT or the Ivies and you don't have to go to a feeder school to get into those upper-echelon places.

I'd love to have more room and have a better lot--but we made a trade-off for the schools. It's annoying when other people game the system.

Posted by Me, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 25, 2008 at 7:13 pm

Now that's a good idea about having the fines pay for investigators. But would it be easy for PAUSD to collect? It might sound better on paper.

How about financial incentives for people to snitch on others? I'll bet if kids know they will be paid $500 or more for reporting cheaters, a lot of kids would start talking.

Posted by Curious, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 25, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Wow, are you serious about encouraging kids to sell out their friends? It sounds much more sinister than cheating the system.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 25, 2008 at 10:47 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by My Eye on You, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 26, 2008 at 9:31 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Hmm, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2008 at 9:56 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 26, 2008 at 11:32 am

My Eye,

*You* think an emphasis on test scores is wrong. You need to talk to some of the parents who do choose schools and districts by scores. It's an overt choice and they have their reasons for it. It's not my choice and I think it's morally wrong to value test scores to such an extent that you'll practice fraud. In fact, that's where my real line is. Strong focus on test scores--fine, your business. Cheating in various ways for the sake of scores. Not cool.

But there are arguments on why test scores matter. I once heard a (non-Asian) immigrant mom say she sent her kids to Hoover because she wanted the best for them.

I mean, do you really think a culture as old and developed as China's doesn't have cultural memes and social norms that are passed along through the family? Do you really think that everyone is exactly alike and shares precisely the same values? Do you really think there are never clashes over values between groups and generations?

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by My Eye on You, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 26, 2008 at 12:07 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 26, 2008 at 12:28 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2008 at 1:26 pm

There are definitely differences between different cultures or races. For example, white caucasians like to sit in the sun and get a tan whereas those of darker complexions, like to be as light colored as possible and stay out of the sun.

This is not a racist remark.

There are other cultural differences which are just as true. The asian culture tends to believe in hiding their emotions on their faces. They are often told to smile more, particularly those working in retail. This is something they find hard to do because since young childhood their parents rarely smiled because it was not done to them, and so on.

Some cultures do things that other cultures don't do. Remarking on them is not racist.

The cultures in Europe vary from one country to another. These cultures vary from food preferences to social activities to polite behavior.

For example, German women do not shave their armpits. Germans like to drink beer in tall liter glasses in beer halls. French like to drink beer or wine at small pavement cafes. English like their pubs for their warm beer.

Are these comments racist? I don't think so.

Therefore how can a comment on what one culture thinks about education be classed as racist?

Posted by Hmm, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Personally I don't know think anyone seems particularly biased, but in general it makes me uncomfortable to see people posting how the Taiwanese are like the Chinese who want X, or the Chinese don't understand the system, etc.

There's not a lot of value in making those generalizations. There are plenty of Chinese heritage families who don't push their kids, don't obsess on math, don't misunderstand how US universities work, etc. And plenty of non-Chinese hertage families do those things. And making those generalizations understandably gets the Irish up (pun intended) of people in that group and others.

So given its limited value and clear cost to having a good conversation, can we try to avoid those generalizations?

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 26, 2008 at 2:45 pm


I try to be careful myself while still not avoiding the subject. That's why I brought up the difference between recent immigrants and Americans with Chinese ancestors who emigrated here 100 years ago. I think a lot various issues have been about assimilation--a non-issue for fourth- and fifth-generation Americans of any heritage--but a big one for recent immigrants and children of those immigrants.

The cheating issue is really a flip side of some admirable virtues--valuing education and hardwork, family loyalty, wanting the best possible opportunities for your kids.

I also think some of it is a reflection of an insecurity--also understandable--the feeling that you (and your kids) have to do anything to succeed because the penalties of "failing" seem so dire. This is something that you see over and over in American history with different waves of immigrants. A couple of generations later, everyone's relaxed a bit and realize that "failing" here can mean a perfectly comfortable lifestyle and that the flexibility of our system means there are second chances you don't see elsewhere.

On the other hand, a lot of our system depends on a level of integrity and trust. Our justice system works for the most part because corruption has not been a serious issue.

Posted by My Eye on You, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2008 at 7:56 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2008 at 10:27 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Here are a couple of definitions I have cut and paste from

"rac'ism /ˈreɪsɪzəm/ [rey-siz-uhm]
1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races."

"prej'u'dice /ˈprɛd'ədɪs/ [prej-uh-dis]
1. an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.
2. any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.
3. unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group."

"ster'e'o'type /ˈstɛriəˌtaɪp/ [ster-ee-uh-tahyp]
A generalization, usually exaggerated or oversimplified and often offensive, that is used to describe or distinguish a group.
A too-simple and therefore distorted image of a group, such as 'Football players are stupid' or 'The English are cold and unfriendly people.'

It's my opinion that the use of the term "racist" was unfortunate.

However, making generalizations to characterize a group of people based on geographic origin or culture is inherently prejudice and I believe that My Eye on You's substitution of the words "Jew", "Jewish", etc. in the statements above makes this very clear.

Posted by Freud, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 27, 2008 at 12:27 am


Than you for clarifying the definitions. It just goes to show that EVERYONE is racist and prejudice at one time or another because it is human nature. Prejudice thoughts cross everyone's minds occasionally. That doesn't make them truly prejudiced people or racists.

If a filthy, smelly, unshaven man with unruly hair, brown teeth, and an appearance of being a drug addict were to walk by, most people are going to think some bad thought. But in your view, that makes people prejudice because they are thinking bad thoughts about someone they don't even know.

Those of you who believe that some posters here are racist and prejudice just because they mention that a certain culture oftentimes does a certain thing are too rigid and unintelligent to be able to understand human behavior. Human behavior is not black and white.

I get so tired of people screaming "racist" when they don't even know people. They are truly the ones who live in anger because they somehow feel that they don't fit in with society so they need to insult everyone else.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 27, 2008 at 12:38 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


So, let's look at def. 1--we're not discussing policies, hatred or the idea that there are inherent differences. I pointed this out earlier--so that definition does not apply.

Definition no. 2. No, I'm not making assumptions without knowledge or reason. Nor is my feeling preconceived or hostile.

This is not a case of prejudging. Me brought up a case of a family that cheated and gave a reason as to why s/he thought they'd cheated.

Me never claimed, nor did I, that an entire group of people was cheating or that only they cheated. Me has said that s/he is part of the group under discussion--I do not assume Me cheats. I doubt Me assumes s/he cheats.

See how it works? Don't prejudge individuals. And don't assume that people exist in some sort of cultural vaccuum. The conversation gets a lot more interesting if you don't.

As for the English--I wouldn't make a blanket statement like that--and haven't. However, I'd be happy to make comments about how class is still an issue in England and how the famous English reserve may have roots similar to the famous Japanese reserve in that both may have arisen from the need for people on crowded islands to create a sort of privacy.

In some ways, my attitudes are the opposite of racist in that I assume that people are mostly behaving rationally in a given context--i.e. it makes sense to focus on high test scores and getting into the right school when that decides a child's future career and success (as is the case in much of Asia). My point is that what makes sense in South Korea doesn't make sense here--different system, different culture.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Back to the main topic. In addition to fines, I think the names of families who fake residency should be made public. Money and public shame should combine into effective deterrents. Part of the reason the residency stuff happens is that there's a potentially high upside--Palo Alto schools at Redwood City prices--and no real downside. Worst thing that happens is that you get caught and have your kid go to the school s/he would have attended anyway.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 27, 2008 at 12:58 am


Thank you. It sounds like My Eye may fit your"live in anger" description as it sounds like s/he has done this numerous times.

One of the great ironies of all of this is that I'm aware of cultural nuances because that sort of sensitivity is needed if you're actually going to be friends with people who don't have the same background as one's self.

Posted by Me, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 27, 2008 at 1:24 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

I have thought of a perfect way to deter cheating. No need for fines (they'll just pay it if they can be forced) nor public humiliation (they don't care; they just want the PAUSD education). What cheaters need is the threat of it affecting the child's academic success. Perhaps a comment on the transcript about the student being dishonest. No one wants the universities to view such a comment. I have heard that if a child has been involved in physical fights, it is noted on their transcript but have not confirmed. Of course, the school would have to include another form in the back-to-school packet for parents to sign, confirming that the child does live in the attendance area and acknowledge that if it is untrue, it will be noted on the student's transcript.

Posted by reader, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 27, 2008 at 9:13 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by My Eye on You, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2008 at 9:28 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by adcomm, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 27, 2008 at 9:41 am

I work in admissions at a local university and every year we have problems with students who have managed to falsify their applications. Very few of these students are from the U.S. Most of them are from two countries, China and South Korea, where apparently it is not hard to hire people to take standardized tests, write your essays, write your recommendations. When those students arrive here they cannot handle the work and soon find themselves on academic probation.

I realize that this is getting far off the original topic, but in point of fact that some countries condone and even seem to promote the idea of doing whatever it takes to get ahead academically, even if that means cheating. Whether or not residents of those countries change their behavior when they arrive in the U.S. is a different issue.

Posted by Pretty Ugly, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 27, 2008 at 9:42 am

Gosh pretty ugly this thread. Chinese bashing, tortured explanations ('cultural memes' - good grief), etc. What people think they accomplish by characterizing Chinese immigrants and their children generally, I can't even imagine. Twas always thus - my grandfather told plenty of wop-bashing stories from his youth back east at the beginning of the last century. But it is funny/strange seeing it here in Palo Alto, from people who think of themselves as enlightened, making gross stereotypes without thinking twice about it.

Posted by Liguistic Trick, a resident of Professorville
on Jul 27, 2008 at 9:59 am

There's a linguistic confusion here. That young drivers get in proportionately more accidents than older drivers does not mean "Young people are bad drivers." Or does it? Aren't they??

It is a linguistic trick - young people ON AVERAGE may be worse drivers (or Chinese cheaters, or African Americans basketball players, or ...). But it sounds like the categorical statement - ALL young people are bad drivers. The statement confuses the matter, because the writer sees an underlying truth ("on average they are X") while the listener sees the overt misstatement ("all of them are X").

Policy based on these confusions is dangerous. If I accept "young people are bad drivers" should I take my 17 year-old's keys away? Well, I know from experience that HE is not a bad driver, even though on average people like him are. I don't want to use the generalization to determine how I treat an individual - that's stereotyping.

Based on that, I say just don't use those kind of statements. People won't (can't) correctly interpret what you mean (it is ambiguous) and it leads to these long sidetracks. So take the time to post/speak a little more clearly and we can get more done.

Posted by Me, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 27, 2008 at 10:50 am


Thank you for letting everyone know of your experience. That is exactly what Ohlone and I are trying to say, which is that not all cheaters are Asian, but a lot of them are because academics means so much in Asia.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Remember the case last year or so of the Korean woman pretending to be a Stanford student? She would sneak through a dorm window every night to sleep. She carried this on for 9 months, buying textbooks and pretending to study with friends. People think that her parents must have put so much pressure on her that she couldn't tell them she was actually rejected from Stanford: Web Link

Go ahead and call me racist if you want, I don't care. I just don't like Caucasians clumping all Asians together. I am Chinese and do not want to be confused with a Korean. It gets even more involved when you throw in Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Cambodian. We all have our different cultures and reputations and I won't open that can of worms. I was born in America and so were my parents, so that also puts me in a different culture than Chinese immigrants because I am half American culture and half Chinese.

Posted by get over it, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2008 at 11:28 am

YOu who think making cultural generalizations is "racist" are fools. There, I said it, I have made a generalization.

Let me add, (being the only one of Mexican family probably posting on this thread), that Mexicans are more likely to be open to bribes and other corruption, does that make all Mexicans dishonest? no, but it makes it a little more likely that more are.

Arab/AFrican Muslims ( having background in this, too) are more likely to walk in front of cars as they careen down the streets, saying "InSh'Allah" as they cross. Meaning, if it is God's will that I am going to die crossing this street, so be it. Therefore, be more careful when you see someone thinking about crossing a street in front of you if he seems to be an Arab/African Muslim. He may jump in front of you where you wouldn't have done so.

People from India, ( being a Godmother of a child of an Indian) tend to have "Indian time". So I know when I invite this family to a party, I tell them to arrive ONE HOUR before the cake is planned to be cut so that they at least have a good chance of not missing it. I have generalized this out to most of their friends also.

People from the South tend to arrive late, so I tell them 1/2 hour before I want them to show up. People from the New York are dead on time, so I am careful to be really ready for them at the appointed time.People from NY tend not to hug, so I don't assume a hello or good bye hug. People from here hug freely, so I have adapted.

People from France are used to crowding in together, in buses, in lines, leaning on the counters by others and watching the transactions at the post or ticket office etc. They do it here, too. I have to ask them to step back.

All these people are family. I understand how they got to where they are. I can accept it and let it go, or I can talk to them and ask them to, for example, give me some space. I also have generalized outward from them to know that the odds are high that others from their background will be similar.

Now, back to the generalizations about Asians/Chinese whatever. I think it is fine to make generalizations about various cultures. It is also fine to say that it is or isn't acceptable to us. In this case, it is not acceptable to break our rules. To me, it isn't acceptable to break them regardless of which country you are from. Period.

Now, where the buttons get pushed, I think, is when the "blame" for the illegal kids seems to start centering around one group or another. I get uncomfortable at that point. Until I know precisely how many illegal kids were busted, and where they were from, I am not happy with making THAT kind of generalization. If we have data that 75% of busted kids have some kind of Asian last name or something..ok, maybe we can start to think there is some kind of cultural clash happening.

But, we start to cross a line in making blaming type generalizations before we have enough data. And, when we do have enough data to support our generalizations, it doesn't mean "guilty by culture" when you meet people.

I could go on and on.

Posted by good post, "me", a resident of Monroe Park
on Jul 27, 2008 at 11:32 am

Yes,Me. I get it. It is like the word "Caucasians". Good grief, there are white folks from all over the world, from almost every country in the world. I have always been uncomfortable with the lumping of "Caucasians" also. So, we are on the same page.

Part of the problem is ignorance on our part, I think. And your post helped dispel some of that. I know, for example, that the Vietnamese "Asian" experience has been very different from the Korean "Asian" experience, and yet more so from the Chinese "Asian" experience. So, I get it.

Thanks for the clarification.

Posted by Me, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 27, 2008 at 11:48 am

Get over it,

Thanks. I learned a lot! The statement "it makes it a little more likely that more are" and "it doesn't mean 'guilty by culture' when you meet people" are what Ohlone and I have been implying too.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Julie, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2008 at 1:20 pm

An Asian family living in Hong Kong bought a house on my street and installed their 14 year old son to live there alone. He went all the way though Gunn High School living alone in a house in PA. I understand this is not uncommon. When kids reach High School they don't necessarily need Parents to live with.

Posted by PA for WASPS only, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 27, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Palo Alto has long had a reputation of welcoming diversity in the community, clearly reflected in this thread and the Jew-bashing one.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 27, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Very Ugly,

I don't have any idea what the residency-cheating breakdown is. I know of more than one case and different ethnicities are involved--Caucasian/Asian. (By the way, it's kind of hard to break down white Americans into more precise ethnic groupings just because there's such a history of intermarriage and interbreeding--not all European either.)

Instead of assuming Me is racist, I'd be far more interested in what s/he is basing his or her assertions.

If you actually know something about South Korea's educational system, the desperate measures to which families will go to ensure their child's in the right school makes sense. There's basically one acceptable university in S. Korea and the admissions test scores mean everything. So much so that more than 200 kids commit suicide every Spring after they receive their test scores. There are a lot of different issues at work in S. Korean society--which is why I found myself reading Metropole's blog quite a bit at one point. Metropole's a Korean/African American living in South Korea. Interesting stuff--racism, I think, coming from an understandable xenophobia if you're familiar with Korea's history.

Is any of this pretty? No. Lots of things aren't. Men are more likely to commit violent crime than women. Does knowing this make me a misanthrope? No. Does it mean that I assume ALL men will commit violent crimes? No.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

What I wouldn't assume is that Me's generalization was racist--based on an irrational hatred of or prejudgments about Asians. The majority of lone mass-murderers are white males--again, acknowledging this and maybe considering what it is about white American culture that makes this crime more likely is not racist.

Again, the irony of all this is very apparent. Get Over It points out that in order to get along with various relatives, it's *necessary* to see cultural differences and account for them.

What it's not about are the sort of value judgments I'm seeing here. In fact, understanding the context helps avoid the black-and-white thinking exhibited by My Eyes.

Posted by Are you reading or just skimming, a resident of Ventura
on Jul 27, 2008 at 6:03 pm

There doesn't seeem to be any point in countering anything that many of the posters on this thread have written because most of them don't seem to really read other people's posts for understanding before reacting.

I liken this to having a conversation with someone who doesn't really listen to your point of view, but is instead just waiting for you to stop talking so that she can begin speaking again and make her own points.

Posted by Paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 27, 2008 at 7:03 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by My Eye on You, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2008 at 9:05 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Enough Already, a resident of Duveneck School
on Jul 28, 2008 at 1:45 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 28, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Enough Already,

Well, I'm ready to return to the original subject--what's a cost-efficient way to deal with the issue?

I think the group that's not getting caught are the formally legal resident set. Thus, people who own houses or townhouses here, but aren't actually residents. I'm just wondering what happens in the rental situation--do you only rent to people without kids?

I think there should be a reasonably hefty fine--one that makes cheating less cost-effective--and one that takes into account the length of the cheating. I have little problem with the kid's whose family moves, but wants to finish out his or her last six months of high school, but more with someone who's sending multiple kids through 13 years. A fine that reflects that would be more fair I think.

And the amount should be on the enrollment forms--it would make it a little more clear that this a serious issue. I think a lot of people convince themselves that cheating on residency isn't a big deal and doesn't harm anybody.

Posted by Paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 28, 2008 at 2:05 pm

I have heard many times of parents moving in the middle of the school year and their children continuing in the same school for the remainder of the school year. I don't think we need to focus on that scenario - it isn't pertinent. What IS pertinent are families blatantly breaking the rules, which I find to be quite studied and deceitful and which really cause hardship to legitimate students because of overcrowding and resource strains.

Posted by palo alto parent, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 28, 2008 at 2:22 pm

The problem is with people using a Palo Alto address which is not their residence- whether it is a grandparents home, a friends, an office or a property they own but rent to someone else.

PAUSD will not make a senior leave the district - even if they move.

Posted by Parent without handles, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2008 at 2:41 pm

One of the problems is that with some of the complicated family arrangements we have nowadays, there are no rules that make sense.

After a divorce if one of the parents moves out of Palo Alto, then the child can never legally have a sleepover at that parent's home without breaking residency requirements. This sounds really bad, but at some stage the line has to be drawn and at present the child has to reside in Palo Alto 7 nights a week.

Also we have many multi-generational families nowadays. I know of at least two families in my elementary school where the elderly parents have their grown daughter move in with her children either because she is divorced, or because they are now too old to live alone. Once again, the children are living at the grandparents home, but this is legal as requirement for school, but whether this is the parent's legal home and address, I don't know.

The case mentioned above where a family from HongKong is renting a house for a 14 year old to live on their own while he is in high school certainly meets the residency requirements, but is it legal to allow a 14 year old to live in a house without adult supervision?

Legal documentation is one thing and having to prove residency with a drivers' licence, rental agreement or mortgage or property tax, utitlity bills, phone bills, etc. are all very easy for most of us, but there are times when legal PA residents have problems when things like names are changed, divorce, multi-generations etc. get involved. I know of one family who moved into a rental property with one child which was all that was on the rental agreement. They had more children after they moved in and then this caused all sorts of problems as the rental agreement was not for that number of children, but the children did reside their and had since birth and they could not let the landlord know.

It is very complex and I can understand why it is easy for those who want to abuse the system to do so. Unfortunately, it also makes it difficult for some to actually produce the necessary documentation also.

I even know of another family who moved to Mountain View in the middle of the school year and they wanted to be able to finish the week or so until their new school accepted the child and let the child remain here after they had actually left. It would have been about a week, but the school would not let it happen. This child then had to be out of school for a week unnecessarily because of the family's honesty. They were very upsest because had they not been so honest they could have left the child here until the new school acceptance got through. Once again, the system let them down, and this was a 2nd grader who really needed every day in school to keep up. The days without school were a double hardship for him.

Posted by Me, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 28, 2008 at 2:58 pm


I don't think people care if they have to pay a hefty fine, and it would probably cost PAUSD a lot of money to collect.

Again, I think a great deterrant is the threat of their children receiving something undesireable on their transcript. My suggestion is to have parents sign a document which states that the child lives 24/7 at the PA address and if the child does not live there, the child will receive F's for the semester or a note on their transcript stating that the student is a dishonest student. These parents who cheat to use PAUSD are not going to want the child's academic future jeopardized.

Posted by Me, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 28, 2008 at 3:02 pm

I question whether the 14-year old was really living alone. Oftentimes there is a grandparent who doesn't speak English or drive a car who stays at home. If the parents had money to buy the house, they surely could pay someone from their country to live with him.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 28, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Parent w.h.,

We were renting when we had to enroll our kid in the district. Since we'd been living there before we had kids, there were no children on the lease. This wasn't a problem with the district. I called ahead, explained the issue and asked what I needed to do. When I enrolled my child, I brought in proof that we still resided at the address. (Including our landlady's recent rent increase.) When we bought that was a whole different kettle of fish as the district had changed its requirements--the office said one thing, the Web site another.

The district *does* have to provide education for kids who are legal residents. A divorced woman living with her parents *is* a legal resident--and her driver's license, car registration, voter reg. and other documentation will reflect this.

I'm not sure how the divorce custody thing works. In a number of cases, the parents are ordered to reside within the same city or district in order to retain partial custody. There may also be situations where the noncustodial parent gets vacations and summer overnights, but not during the school year.

Me, as an adult, I'm not interested in seeing kids puniahed for their parents' crimes. If money's no object, then those families can afford to legally reside in Palo Alto.

The residency fraud could be noted on transcripts, I suppose--giving colleges the information and then letting them make their own decisions about it. For some schools it won't be an issue, for others it will. But I think the district will want to protect the kids.

Posted by Parent without handles, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2008 at 1:32 pm

This discussion has got out of hand.

Many kids in our schools are cheating the system. Their parents are giving them a lesson in cheating is fine unless you get caught. We can't blame the kids, it is not their fault. I would be against getting something put on their transcript because it really isn't their fault and they don't have to pay the consequences of their parents' faults.

When we find someone, I think we should push them out of the District and they can only return if they agreed to monthly scrutiny from District officials. I think parents should be threatened with a record of bad parenting linked to a bad parenting agency in the same way that child abuse parents are listed. I think the parents should be named publicly, but unfortunately as that means the kids would be too I can't recommend that, but I would like to do what used to be done, put them in stocks in the village green so that we could all throw rotten fruit at them.

Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2008 at 3:06 pm

Wow, none of you even caught what eye was doing. Intentionally throwing down the r card to divert attention from the topic - probably because its a topic she is intimately afraid of - in other words, eye is one of the district residency cheaters, and really doesn't want to see any scrutiny on this problem, certainly doesn't want any helpful suggestions put forth on these boards that might help the community or the district drum the cheaters out of town. Don't be so naive, its such a common tactic used on these boards, you'd think you'd be on to it by now and just ignore her already.

By the way, for the poster who talked about a family that moved out temporarily while their home was being remodeled. That's not cheating, and the district knows when its happening (you pay a hefty fee as part of the building permit process, directly to the district offices, as part of the permitting process. Besides, owning a house in Palo Alto means you're paying property taxes in Palo Alto - how could that possibly be construed as cheating? Maybe you could explain how the district is being cheated in that scenario?

Posted by Where to draw the line?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2008 at 3:22 pm

"Besides, owning a house in Palo Alto means you're paying property taxes in Palo Alto - how could that possibly be construed as cheating?"
Right. So where should the district draw the line then? Is paying property taxes enough? Should there also be a residency law? If no residency law is needed for property owners, would it still be needed for renters? If so, is that discrimination?

(Thanks for getting the thread back on topic.)

Posted by parent without handles, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2008 at 3:24 pm

We can easily ignore the troll and continue our discussion.

I know a family who moved out while remodeling and did their best to hide the fact from the school and everyone else. I don't know if it is permitted to do this or not, but certainly this family and a few others were under the impression it was so they tried to hide it.

The school impact fee on a remodel is there whether you move out or not. I have remodeled and had to pay it, but we did not move out. So there is no reason that the District knows whether or not you are moving out.

Posted by Mom of 3, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jul 30, 2008 at 7:32 pm

In answer to Where to Draw, a poster above said that a student is supposed to live in PA 7 days per week and it was questioned what divorced parents do. I don't think divorced parents and remodels should be considered cheaters. It's those who live outside of PA and rent out their PA houses or use a PA address or PA rented PA townhouse address who should be busted. These people are clearly not living in PA and are gaming the system.

Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 31, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Real Perspective,

Nicely said.

Parent without Handles,

I think the parents' names should be made public. I mean we don't hide the names of lawbreakers just because it will embarrass their kids. There's a lot to be said for the role of shame. I think part of the problem is that there's such an upside to faking residency and no real downside. Yeah, you get tossed when you get caught, but there's no other penalty.

Not sure why the family you knew didn't think the district had a remodel exemption. It's right there in the paper pile.


I did indeed question whether My Eye was doing the illegal thing. (July 29th at 3:01 p.m.) Didn't go with it because another poster pegged My Eye as a previously seen troll. However, both could be true.

Anyway, back to the subject. Remodels/temp residency is legal and above-board.

I don't know what the divorce situation is if the primary custodial parent resides in Palo Alto, but actual custody is split.


The district has tightened its residency rules over the years. I certainly don't think anyone should be able to use an address for a sort-of quasi double-occupancy, where both the renter and the landowner are claiming one house as an address when only the renter's living there. Different property tax situation for one thing--which is why, I think, that the proof-of-residency requirement now requires some property tax document instead of just the house deed. You can only claim one primary residency.

The residency rules are the same for renters and homeowners--seven nights a week. The proof requirements differ.

Posted by Me, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 1, 2008 at 8:49 pm

Parents who want their children to succeed so much in academics that they cheat the system surely will NOT want to risk their children receiving F's or a dishonesty comment on the child's transcript. I don't think parents will take the chance and cheat if those are the consequences. Completely cost effective too.

Posted by sins of the father visited upon the son, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2008 at 2:41 am

Are you honestly suggesting that a 5-year-old, 8-year-old, 12-year-old or any age child, for that matter, should be penalized for the transgressions of his or her parents?

Posted by Parent, a resident of Nixon School
on Aug 2, 2008 at 5:33 pm

I once saw a chart years ago with the breakdown of students in the district.

Stanford graduate students in student housing took up a large number of spaces in our district. I personally know of 3 graduate students who changed their major to prolong their visas so their kids could finish Palo Alto schools. I know these families, and they applied to grad school, not because they were particularly interested in their fuzzy majors. They applied to Stanford to get into the country and our school district. Top schools in the Bay Area are on foreign blog sites as prime places to send your kids if they can not get into the top schools in their own country.

These older student parents have no intention of returning to the places they came from. It seems like a scam to Stanford, our school district, and our immigration laws. Two of these families started their children in elementary school and are now in high school.

It has been a free ride for them. These 3 families have homes back in their home countries, but are hoping to get lost in the system and become naturalized.

The kids are getting a free education in Palo Alto, and the parents receive grant money from our government to study.

It's a free ride.

As a resident who struggles to make mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, etc. it irks me when I see this.

It also bothers me to see homeowners wait listed for their neighborhood schools. We were waitlisted for over a year for our only child after we purchased our home.

I know that some will argue that we are using Stanford land for these schools, but I think if you knew the number of kids in attendance from Stanford housing, you would be shocked.

Posted by ??, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2008 at 8:13 am

Where is Real Perspective's post? OP said "nicely said" and I want to read it...

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